The Jan Courtin & Marshall Harris Collection

Jan Courtin and her two loves: Art and Football

Lots 159 – 163 showcase the eclectic taste of Jan Courtin and Marshall Harris, who championed emerging artists as both gallery owners and patrons of the arts. Originally Melbournians, Jan and Marshall lived in London and briefly in Brisbane before relocating to Sydney to pursue Jan's chief obsession, AFL football. Jan was a devoted supporter of the Sydney Swans from childhood and grew in dedication through the years. Her regular contributions to the club and commitment to the game earned her the Female Fan of the Year award from the AFL Fans Association in 2016. It is a fitting homage ‘for a woman who had uprooted her life to Sydney to be closer to her beloved Swans’.¹ Her passions for the Swans and art were near-equal contests, although she emphatically insisted, ‘It'd be the Swans before the art.’ ²

Jan and Marshall pursued their mutual passion for Australian artists with an energetic spirit. When the couple moved to Sydney (to be closer to the Swans), they also set up a gallery on Glenmore Road in Paddington, living in the apartment above. Harris Courtin Gallery operated from 1999 for just over a decade. In the gallery's infancy, they exhibited works by Polly Courtin, Jan's sister and gradually established a reputation for championing fringe and emerging local artists. 'They cared for and involved [their artists], and above all, they were extremely professional and generous as gallery directors. Thus, the stable of artists trusted Jan and Marshall completely.' ³ Together they amassed an extensive personal collection, contributing to the arts district in a way that reflected their genuine support and enthusiasm for local Australian artists.

Lot 159, BEN QUILTY (BORN 1973), Docklands 2, 2002

Lot 159, BEN QUILTY (BORN 1973), Docklands 2, 2002

In 2019, Jan and Marshall relocated to Melbourne, settling into a light-filled, contemporary home in Albert Park. Paintings and sculptures filled every square inch of the house in a cacophony of colour. Amongst the patchwork salon hung two dynamic works by Ben Quilty painted in 2002 as the artist's career was beginning to erupt; Lots 159 and 160 ennoble West Melbourne’s monolithic docklands in blazing colours delightfully contained to pocket-sized canvases. Also hanging amidst the collection were two early abstract paintings by Guy Maestri, who exhibited with Harris Courtin Gallery in the early 2000s at the threshold of an esteemed career. In their private collection, as much as their gallery, Jan and Marshall perpetually advocated for emerging artists.

Sadly, Jan passed away in August 2022, followed by Marshall in October of the same year. The family now offers the second instalment of the couple's beloved collection to the market, paying tribute to their legacy as unwavering supporters of contemporary Australian art.

View the Jan Courtin & Marshall Harris Collection.

View the Full Catalogue.


¹ Vale Jan Courtin, Published Aug 10, 2022;

² Alice Bradley, The red & white home of Swan for life Jan Courtin, 14 Aug 2017; lifestyle/the-red-white-home-of-swan-for-life-jan-courtin/

³  Statement from Julie Cattlin, the sister of Jan Courtin.