By John Perry in Auckland, on 25-Aug-2016

A good crowd of around 200 people braved a lousy night in Auckland to be present at a red carpet affair, the first Important and Rare sale at the International Art Centre's new premises, 100 meters down the road from their old rooms in Parnell.

The new bespoke auction rooms worked well and the large crowd in attendance were eager to see the 110 lots of New Zealand Paintings go under the hammer. As one would expect the carefully curated sale went off with a bit of a bang with the first three lots all exceeding the top end of their estimates.

The first 'Important and Rare' sale at the International Art Centre's new custom-built premises, was witnessed by a good crowd of around 200 people, despite the lousy weather. The high point of the evening was the sale of a small format C.F.Goldie painting from 1916 of an Arawa Chieftainess. Entitled 'In Doubt' an Arawa Chieftainess Maramena Wiari with a pre sale estimate of between $250,000- $350,000 bidding started at $190,000 and quickly rose to the final hammer price of $370,000.

Action of the six figure variety ignited the room when a Peter Siddell work from 1989 and entitled Red Carpet (Lot 30 ) with a pre sale estimate of between $60,000-$80,000 sold for a whopping $110,000 after some fierce competition from all quarters.

A powerful 1981 work by Ralph Hotere produced in anger over the divisive 1981 Rugby Tour of New Zealand by the Springboks and entitled A Black Union Jack (Lot 31 ) and boldly inscribed Greetings from the Land of the Wrong White Crowd sold well above estimate at $47,000

This was followed by a most unusual large format Michael Smither painting entitled The Cricket Match (Lot 32 ) from 2002 selling for $52,500 against a top estimate of $45,000.

Expectations were high for Colin McCahon's first ever Waterfall painting (Lot 34 ).

Firmly rooted in our art historical tradition these paintings had a number of well springs including William Hodges Cascade Cove Dusky Bay, a large oil painting from  circa 1775-76 produced on the artist's return to England. McCahon's raw and direct Waterfall No.1 from 1964  was sold subject (to vendor approval) at $300,000 against a low end estimate of $350,000

The high point of the sale came when a small format C.F.Goldie painting from 1916 of an Arawa Chieftainess (Lot 38 ) was presented to the rooms. Entitled 'In Doubt' an Arawa Chieftainess Maramena Wiari  with a pre sale estimate of between $250,000- $350,000 bidding started at $190,000 and quickly rose to the final hammer price of $370,000

It was only a couple of weeks previous that in Parnell a similar sized Goldie oil of another Arawa Chieftainess, Kapi Kapi sold at the Inaugural Mossgreen-Webb's Sale for $300,000.

A large reframed colonial oil by Charles Decimus Barraud of Diamond Lake, Mt.Earnslaw in the South Island  (Lot 45 ) was the best selling work from the Colonial period selling for $50,000 mid way between its estimate range of $40,000-$60,000

It was towards the end of the sale that there were a couple of rather big / little surprises for the diligent and foolhardy souls that see these auctions through to the bitter end and both involved Maori portraiture.

A fine work by Vera Cummings, a star pupil of Goldie's but apparently done under the tutelage of Louis John Steele, of a Maori Chief  entitled Patera (Lot 90 ) sold well for $14,750 to a Christchurch collector after a good battle between two bidders in the rooms.

The really big surprise came right at the end of the sale when an original carte de visite by the Foy Brothers of the Ngati Maru beauty from the Thames Goldfields, Ana Rupene and Child (Lot 105 ) was offered to the few remaining bidders

The bidding was fierce for the 100 mm x 60 mm original sepia photograph from c.1876. Starting at the low estimate of $1,000 it rose to an incredible $4,200 in a short space in time.

Why did such a humble ''full stop'' at the end of a major art auction generate such interest from the collecting public. I believe the answer is because the other highly regarded painter of Maori subjects was Gottfried Lindauer who used and reused the Foy Brothers image of Ana Rupene to produce over 30 ''identical'' versions of the iconic subject. The high point in the painting's history was winning a Gold Medal at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 with one of his versions. The assembly line methodologies employed by Lindauer are just one early example of mass production in the fine arts in our relatively short art history.

It is rather ironic that Lindauer should be remembered in our alcohol saturated culture by having a bottle of sparkling wine named after him but no such luck for old record smashing Mr. Goldie.


All prices shown are in New Zealand dollars.

Sale Referenced: Important & Rare, International Art Centre, Auckland, 24/08/2016

About The Author

John Perry is known locally as a collector / consultant / curator/ educator and artist and is a former director of the Rotorua Museum of Art and History. For the last 20 years has worked as an antique dealer specializing in ''man made and natural curiosities'' from an old art deco cinema on the outskirts of Auckland. Over the last 16 years he has developed a multi million dollar collection of 19th and 20th century artworks for the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust. He recently donated 120 artworks from his collection in various media to the East Southland Art Gallery in Gore. A committed ''art o holic'' he continues to develop collections of New Zealand and International fine art / folk art / ceramics and photography for future usage in a private/public ARTMUSEEUM of NEWSEELAND, not to be confused with Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.