After a brief preamble, the sale got underway.with Joke, (Lot 1 ) a ''deer little painting'' by Michael Harrison selling for $4,200 against an estimate of $3,000- $4,000, while lot 2 an interesting work entitled Camowhaiwhai (Lot 2 ) by Andrew McLeod was not so lucky being sold subject to the vendors approval.
This was to be the pattern for the sale with 26 of the lots on offer being sold under the hammer, 22 lots sold subject to vendors approval, and 5 lots not attracting any bids at all.
A number of the key headline lots found new owners, but there were an equal number which simply failed to ignite the local buyers in a pretty saturated market place, with clearly a few key collectors still in hibernation.
Star of the show wasn't the brace of McCahon's unsigned late period Gannet paintings or the pair of exquisitely framed Frances Hodgkin's oil paintings recently repatriated from the U.S.A. but a small format 24.5 by 19.5 cm undated oil of Kapi Kapi an Arawa Chiefteness (Lot 17 ) by Charles F, Goldie which sold for the upper estimate of $300,000 on the night and received a round of applause from the people in the room.
The large 1973 Don Binney oil of Te Henga from the Razor Back (Lot 15 ) from the Joy Marchant Collection in Sydney, repatriated by Mossgreen, sold well for $130,000 exceeding the top end of the estimate by $10,000, while a small signed Colin McCahon charcoal drawing from 1971, Muruwai, High Wind and Rain, (Lot 14 ) sold very well at $46,000, again exceeding the top end of the estimate by $1,000 this time.
It was clear that the two large format oils of Frances Hodgkin were not to be returned to the vendors and were both knocked down to the highest bidder on the night, with Ibiza (Lot 18 ) selling for $205,000 and River Boats (Lot 19 ) selling for a somewhat disappointing $190,000. Each work had a pre-sale estimate of $230,000 - $330,000.
The two late period monochromatic works on paper by Colin McCahon which graced the front and back covers of the catalogue and had extensive coverage in the catalogue, precipitated a somewhat lukewarm response on the night. Gannets Leaving Muriwai (Lot 22 ) and Dance of the Gannets (Lot 23 ) were a ''pigeon pair'' of paintings both with estimates of $160,000 - $200,000. Bidding for lot 22 started at $120,000 rising to $130,000 and lot 23 attracting only a maiden bid of $120,000 as a consequence both lots were knocked down subject to vendor approval.
It was not a night for the gannets but two medium format gold toned silver gelatin prints of the extinct huia (Lot 6 ) by Fiona Pardington sold very well, realising $27,000 against an estimate of $10,000 - $15,000 for the pair.
In closing, I must admit I was quite surprised to see that lot 30, a medium sized 1984 work on paper by the top selling artist Don Binney was wrongly catalogued as being ''Queen Victoria'' when in actual fact it was King George III..... tut tut.
The total for the Mossgreen-Webb's sale was similar to the 'on the night' total for the Art + Object sale last week, with both returning totals of about $1.2 million exclusive of buyer's premium
All prices shown are in New Zealand dollars.