By John Perry in Auckland, on 11-Aug-2017

Auckland's newest auction house / gallery or should that be gallery / auction house Bowerbank Ninow held their 6th. auction in Auckland on 9 August 2017 which introduced a couple of innovations for which they should be congratulated.

Firstly, they limited the number of lots to 100, which I think is just about the right number for a specialty auction.

And secondly, the sale was focussed on drawings, or perhaps if you want to split hairs, works on paper as four of the lots were prints, graphics or multiples.

With a bite-sized auction and a works on paper focus, the audience that attended the auction tended to be of a younger demographic. Many of those attending were clearly new collectors, attracted by the fact that the prices for most of the works offered was not going to break the bank.

That said, the auction got off to a good start with Bill Hammond's There's a brand new dance but I don't know it's name (Lot 9 ) selling for $2700 followed by Shane Cotton's small Untitled Still Life (Lot 10 ) selling well above the estimate for $4,100.

A beautiful drawing by Ralph Hotere was the first work to break through the $5,000 price barrier. His Window in Spain from 1978, (Lot 17 ) sold for $5,500.

Two works by Pat Hanly sold well, with his early Figure in Light (Lot 36 ) from 1963 selling for $5,750 and a later molecular study entitled A Winters Day (Lot 37 ) from 1969 selling for $7,250. All seven of Hanly works in the sale were sourced from the artist's estate.

An oil on paper by Richard Killeen attracted keen bidding, with the work, Geometry (Lot 50 ) selling well at $5,600.

The next in-room bidding battle was for a blue diptych by Michael Harrison, Moment of Change / Midnight (Lot 59 ) which went for $8,500.

Top price on the night went to a beautiful geometric abstract work by Milan Mrkusich (Lot 62 ) entitled Painting Yellow 1981. This work sold for $12,500 against an estimate of $7,000 - 12,000, and was followed by a brace of very early drawings by Colin McCahon from 1948. Canterbury Plains (Lot 63 ) and Cashmere Hills (Lot 64 ) each sold for $7,000.

Selling well over the top estimate of $6,500-8,500 was Untitled (Red Nude), (Lot 65 ) a rare Philip Clairmont mixed media work which brought $10,000, while his Study for Portrait of Hamish Keith (Lot 67 ) made $6500.

Most of the lots on offer found places amongst the bidders in the room while a number went to book bids held by the auctioneer. A good number of the seriously contested works went to the phone bidders.

The team at Bowerbank Ninow deserve praise for bringing together an excellent catalogue of works for sale in the accessible price bracket with another great catalogue cram packed with around twenty advertisments and eleven essays on various key artists whose works were on offer.


Sale Referenced: Auction No 6, Bowerbank Ninow, Auckland, 09/08/2017

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.