Swiss Collector Buys Kelton Collection of Australian Indigenous Art
3 December 2020
In a deal worth millions, Bruno Raschle acquired more than 250 works in the California-based collection.
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Ancestorial Tales of Mount Allen Sites—Yuutjutiyung (1979). Synthetic polymer paint on linen. © Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri/Copyright Agency 2020.
Swiss investment manager Bruno Raschle acquired 'a significant portion' of the Kelton Collection of Australian Indigenous art, according to D'Lan Contemporary, who helped broker the deal.
The purchase includes Papunya boards and canvases from the early 1970s, and paintings by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Lin Onus, among others. It also includes what Raschle describes as 'a wealth of unpublished documents and videos'.
Raschle said his collection 'will seek to contribute to building an inclusive and transparent narrative of the Australian Indigenous culture and will be further developed with the goal of serving as an important resource that encourages the spirit and culture of the Australian Indigenous people to continue well into the future.'
The Australian Financial Review described the Kelton Collection as 'arguably the most important collection of Australian Indigenous art outside a public institution'. They estimated Raschle spent at least AU $10 million to acquire the works.
D'Lan Contemporary's founder D'Lan Davidson said the deal 'comes at a time when we are seeing consistent international growth in demand for contemporary Australian Indigenous Art.'
Davidson told Ocula Magazine that because the works were already held overseas, 'there has been no direct cultural loss to Australia' due to Raschle acquiring the works.
'There can be no singular collection that can help gain recognition globally more than this body of work can,' he added.
The Kelton Collection of Australian Indigenous art was put together by Richard Kelton, whose family amassed a fortune selling real estate. Kelton began the collection in 1979 and kept it in three apartments in Santa Monica, California. He passed away in 2019.
'We are extremely happy to see this key portion of our father's legacy in the hands of Bruno Raschle,' the Kelton family said in a statement. 'His enthusiasm to curate and care for these works and his love and respect for the Australian Indigenous culture make him an ideal custodian of these works going forward.' —[O]