By John Perry in Auckland, on 06-Apr-2017

Fledgling Auckland auction house and gallery Bowerbank Ninow would have to be very happy with the results from their Auction No 5, their 5th catalogue sale in their short history.

Held in Auckland appropriately on 5th April, the carefully curated auction of historical and contemporary New Zealand photography produced some pleasing results with the 133 lots offering of a broad range of 19th, 20th and 21st century photography.

Top price in the 'Bowerbank Ninow Auction No. 5' of 19th, 20th and 21st century photography went to a large format portrait by Peter Peryer of his then wife. Titled 'Erika' the lot sold for $10,250. This full frontal grainy 'in your face' study in close up featured on the back cover of the catalogue, and had been widely exhibited in a focused exhibition entitled Erika - A Study In Portraiture that had been curated by Justin Paton and toured extensively throughout New Zealand in 2001.

Their distinctively formatted catalogues contained good quality reproductions of all the works in the sale, along with 13 essays and interviews by various authorities and experts on photography that will ensure the longevity of the publication long after the auction has passed.

Top price on the night went to a large format portrait by Peter Peryer of his then wife. Titled Erika (Lot 59 ) the lot sold for $10,250. This full frontal grainy 'in your face' study in close up featured on the back cover of the catalogue, and had been widely exhibited in a focused exhibition entitled Erika - A Study In Portraiture that had been curated by Justin Paton and toured extensively throughout New Zealand in 2001.

A fine portrait of the French born artist Louise Henderson (Lot 60 ) taken by the recently deceased Marti Friedlander in 1972 also sold very well for $4,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $1,200 - $1,800. Another of her striking portraits sold well for $3,300. This one was untitled, but of an elderly Dalmatian wine maker (Lot 122 ) from a series of images on the developing wine industry in West Auckland she worked on with historian Dick Scott in the 1970's.

Marti Friedlander scored the trifecta with her classic early morning study of a flock of sheep in the Eglington Valley (Lot 72 ) taken in 1970, selling at the upper estimate for $8,000.

The big surprise of the night went to Lot 18 a small untitled photograph by painter Gordon Walters of one of his own paintings that had recently been sold in the record breaking sale of the Tim and Sherrah Francis Collection for $325,000. The photograph of the painting sold for a surprising $5,200 against a catalogue estimate of $500- $700.

Of the colour photographs in the auction, Michael Parakowhai's study of a hare  entitled Lou Lombardi (Lot 50 ) from 2000 sold for $6,000 while Brian Brake's classic view, Milford Sound, Fiordland (Lot 7 ) from 1960 sold at the upper estimate for $3,000.

A strong and sensitive portrait of rock icon David Bowie (Lot 81 ) by the then emerging photographer Laurence Aberhart taken against a plain Christchurch hotel room backdrop on a visit to N.Z.in 1978 sold well at $4,000 as did two other photographs taken in similar circumstances of The Ramones (lot83) (Lot 84 ) on their visit down under in 1980.

Ans Westra's classic photograph Ruatoria (Lot 64 ) from the controversial landmark publication Washday At The Pa from 1963, of three Maori children playing attracted strong interest selling for $4,750 and as did the next lot, Hikurangi (Lot 65 ) from 1982 also selling for $3,750 just below the low estimate.

This fifth auction in the brief history of Bowerbank Ninow was a well-attended sale, the youthful audience buying strongly to confirm the growing interest in collecting New Zealand photography, both historical and contemporary.

With an on-the-night sales total of around $120,000 and a raft of works certain to be sold subject to vendor's approvals, this sale would certainly be seen by those keeping a watchful eye on moving our rich and unique photographic legacy forward, as being a leap of faith in the right direction.

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Sale Referenced: Auction No 5, Bowerbank Ninow, Auckland, 05/04/2017

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.

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