Good Weekend Art Column

Andrew Sayers – Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne

Published March 6, 2019
Andrew Sayers,Title Bogola Head, Year 2015, Medium gouache on paper Size 57 x 76.5 cm

Artist: Andrew Sayers

Lived: Richmond, Melbourne

Age: 1957-2015

Represented by: Lauraine Diggins Fine Art (No Sydney representation)

Her thing. Gouache on paper landscapes, painted in a range of locations

Our take. Andrew Sayers was best known as a respected museum professional. After establishing his reputation as a curator at the National Gallery of Australia he went on to become the founding director of the National Portrait Gallery, and later, director of the National Museum of Australia. Only a few close friends knew that Sayers was also a secret artist who took every opportunity to go painting en plein air.

Sayers had long intended to give up museum work and devote himself to artistic activities, but when diagnosed with cancer he began to value every moment he could spend with a brush in his hand. He held a first solo exhibition with Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in May, 2015, and died in October that same year. Andrew Sayers: Defining the Artist, is his second solo show with the gallery, featuring goauche landscapes drawn from the estate.

The quick-drying nature of gouache encourages a rapid response, and many of these works on paper might be described as sketches in which the artist has spontaneously jotted down his impressions. Other pictures are more considered, but it’s obvious that Sayers relished the challenge of painting at high speed, relying on eye and instinct. Like all dedicated landscapists he would return to the same motif again and again, investigating it from different angles under varying qualities of light.

Can I afford it?

Because Sayers remained a relatively ‘unknown’ artist his prices are very reasonable. The works in this show range from $1,500 to $2,500 depending on size. The smallest, such as On the Spot Sketch, Wallaga Lake Bridge (2012), are 23 or 24cm by 32 cm. The largest, such as Two Capes, Bridgewater Bay (2015) or Bogola Head (2015) are 57cm by 76.5cm. The larger works tend to be more carefully constructed, but the raw, quick nature of the small pieces has its own appeal.

Where can I have a squiz?

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, 5 Malakoff Street, North Caulfield, Melbourne, 2 March – 27 April, 2019,


Published in Good Weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March, 2019