Daughter hides late father's work amid art media frenzy
AN ELDERLY Bundaberg woman has to hide her personal art collection in storage, after it became the subject of a national media storm this week.
Ann Grocott, 80, discovered fake copies of her father's art were to be sold at a prominent auction house in Melbourne on Thursday, but by reporting it, she now risks her genuine copies being targeted by thieves.
Her complaints involving the work of her father, Noel Wood, echoed across news publications once the auctioneer, Leonard Joel, withdrew the auction of about 60 paintings to investigate their legitimacy.
Mrs Grocott is also an accomplished artist and owns 16 of her father's paintings, including a colourful piece she believes may be his last.
She avoided mentioning that she hung them in her living room when interviewed by media, but they must have found out from other sources when reporting this.
A Leonard Joel spokeswoman said that the alleged fake paintings being sold had been part of a deceased estate, which means that the auctioneer could not question the former owner.
"There are a few works in question and a few that aren't," she said.
Specialists had already examined the artwork before Mrs Grocott's complaint and had believed them to be authentic, the spokeswoman said.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Leonard Joel in relation to offering the paintings for sale as authentic.
Mrs Grocott said the alleged imitations did not share Wood's painting style.
"They have been painted by someone else because they are too colourful, too young, and too loose," she said.
"They wanted a quick buck and didn't pick a famous one like Dali, but those ones were well known in the 1940s."
Some of the artwork that the auctioneer had was signed by Wood but had been completed by other artists including his brother Rex, Mrs Grocott said.
Wood painted tropical scenes, particularly based on his property in Bedarra Island, in North Queensland.
He was prominent in the years following World War II, when it was far cheaper to paint with board instead of canvas, but slowed down on his work years before he died in Tully in 2001.
Some of his pieces can be found at the Queensland Art Gallery and at the National Gallery of Australia.
"He was most famous in the 50s," Mrs Grocott said.
"He said that for one glorious year he was the most famous painter in Australia."
One of the subjects in the paintings that Mrs Grocott has is her mother, Eleanor, who also had been a painter.
The Woods met in Adelaide when they both studied at art school, and their artistic passion was an inspiration during Mrs Grocott's childhood.
"I genuinely thought that's what adults did," she recalled.
"They wrote stories and they painted pictures."