By John Perry in Auckland, on 07-Apr-2017

The Art + Object Auckland sale of 120 lots on 6 April got off to a flying start with a 39 lot consignment representing the decade of art buying by The Paint + Paper Collective. This hardcore modernist group of women collectors dominated the buying of the first 39 lots of the auction purchasing many of the works from the collective for their own collections.

Having purchased an absolute miscellany of ''fresh art by emerging and mid-career artists from the major dealer galleries in Auckland", one of the groups stated aims was ''no nanna art'' and to this end there was very little ''safe'' or ''conservative'' art that made its way into the collection.

The Art + Object Auckland sale of 120 lots on 6 April got off to a flying start with the first 39 lots, a consignment representing a decade of art buying by The Paint + Paper Collective, a modernist group of women collectors. Amongst the remaining 81 mixed vendor lots, the cover lot by Bill Hammond (above) failed to find a buyer, as did two works by Gottfried Lindauer, but overall the team at A + O would be pleased with the results, with on-the-night sales coming in at just shy of $1.5 million.

Top price from this group of works went to Fiona Pardington's large format black and white study of a dead huiia, Female Huia (Lot 1 ) which was number 9/10 from the Auckland Museum's Collection, and sold for $12,750 having had a presale estimate of $8,000 - 14,000.

The other sought after work from this collective was the Jude Rae watercolour entitled St. No. 106 (Lot 38 ) which sold over the top end of the estimate range for $9,250. The two works by Wayne Youle lots 21 and 34 attracted good solid bidding while Richard Lewer's Let Us Pray (Lot 7 ) got the third highest price in this group of works of $7250, selling well over the top end estimate of $6,000.

After the first 39 lots, the auction stepped up a notch or two with the remaining section of the sale consisting of larger and more valuable works from a range of other vendors.

The artists with multiple lots in the sale achieved mixed results, except for lots by Michael Parakowhai whose works were eagerly bid, with his top price being $125,000 for Oritetanga (Lot 91 ) a large powder coated heavy metal construction with its roots in the cross-cultural appropriation / misappropriation debate that continues to rage.

Bill Hammond, the catalogues ''cover boy'' did not fare so well with his irregular shaped monochromatic unstretched canvas Walter's Shag Pile 2 (Lot 87 ) being passed in with a vendor's bid of $170,000 against an estimate of $230,000 - 300,000. Nobody seemed to want the Hammond image of Walter Buller's pile of dead shags, while a smaller more palatable work entitled Ancestral C (Lot 83 ) sold well for $65,000.

Frances Hodgkin and A. Lois White's works all sold well with the Hodgkins watercolour Tabac (Lot 80 ) selling for $45,000 and A. Lois White's classic late period ''tubist'' painting Allegro (Lot 77 ) selling just below the top end of the estimate for $46,500.

Two very fine Maori portraits, both painted from early carte de visite photographs, languished. The Lindauer, 'The Maori Princess' Puahaere Te Wherowhero (Lot 92 ), a painting of the first Maori king's daughter, in its first time on the market only attracted a bid of $130,000, compared to the estimates of $160,000-220,000, while the delightful and very rare Louis John Steele painting of An Old Chief, Ngaroki te Uru (Lot 93 ) estimated at $60,000-80,000 attracted only one bid of $40,000.

Perhaps the recent theft of the two Lindauer paintings has had the desired effect, on the market for Maori portrait paintings, increasing the risk and reducing the value of images of their forebears being seen as ''gilt edge investments'' and turning them into ''guilt edged investments'' instead.

Despite some serious low points, the sale had some other notable results with the smallest of the Colin McCahon paintings being eagerly sought. His Truth from the King Country: Load Bearing Structures (Large) No. 6 (Lot 97 ) sold well at $76,000 and his rare and colourful excursion into the Pacific Island culture with a work entitled A Rosegarden for Lautoka (Lot 100 ) sold for $91,000.

A rare unsigned work by Christchurch based Ilam Art School lecturer Russell Clark of the iconic cabbage tree (Lot 103 ) from a Clark Family collection sold near the top estimate for $54,000 and the last lot in the sale, entitled Grasses No 14  (Lot 120 ) by fellow Ilam Art School lecturer Bill (W.A.) Sutton attracted spirited bidding selling just over the top estimate for $12,500.

Despite factors such as the end of the financial year tax take, (31 March in New Zealand) and the recent theft of the Lindauer portraits from International Art Centre, the team at A + O would be pleased with the results, with on-the-night sales coming in at just shy of $1.5 million.

Sale Referenced: Important Paintings & Contemporary Art including the Paint + Paper Collection, Art+Object, Auckland, 06/04/2017

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.