The Races by Kevin ‘Pro’ Hart – £10,000 at Chorley’s.

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Growing up on his family’s sheep farm in Menindee, New South Wales, he later worked at a drinks factory where he was given the nickname ‘Professor’ – hence the reason he is normally referred to as ‘Pro’ Hart.

As well as being a miner for a while, he was a keen sculptor, working with welded steel, bronze and ceramics.

Hart’s paintings also demonstrated novel techniques. He sometimes used sponges as well as brushes to apply oil or acrylic and would later develop what he called ‘cannon painting’ (filling paint in a glass ball and firing it at a canvas with a ship’s cannon) and ‘balloon painting’ (dropping lead pellets with paint from a hot air balloon onto a board on the ground).

His Outback paintings are admired for how they capture the way of life out in remote parts of Australia often with an element of topical commentary or humour.

At the races

An example emerged at Chorley’s July 19-20 sale in Cheltenham when a large racecourse painting came to auction from a local Cotswold country house. It had been purchased by the vendor along with the entire contents when they bought the property 33 years ago.

The 3ft 11in x 6ft (1.2 x 1.82m) oil on zinc was signed and dated ‘84.

It showed a group of horses racing around the top bend as well as a dog chasing a hare in the foreground and numerous figures surrounding the track, some picnicking or socialising rather than watching.

Something of a rarity at a UK regional sale, it was pitched at £10,000-12,000 and sold on low estimate (plus 22.5% buyer’s premium) to the UK trade.

The price was a decent sum for Pro Hart for a work sold outside his homeland and broadly in line with other racing scenes by the artist.