An oil painting by one of Australia’s most celebrated artists, John Brack, of his laughing, pigtailed four year-old daughter Charlotte has smashed expectations at auction, costing its new owner nearly $1 million to take home.

Charlotte Brack (daughter of artist John Brack) with her portrait.

Charlotte Brack (daughter of artist John Brack) with her portrait.Credit:Eddie Jim

Laughing Child, painted in 1958, sold to a telephone bidder on Wednesday for a hammer price of $750,000 ($915,000 after the auction house premium). Pre-auction estimates were around half the amount.

Auction house Smith&Singer chairman Geoffrey Smith said the response from the public and in the auction room had reflected the picture’s joyfulness and delight in childhood, and the talent of its creator.

“These acute observations, made by one of our great social documenters in visual art, made the work both engaging and penetrating,” Mr Smith said. “There was a resonance in the work, an ability to communicate through time and generations.”

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