This week is a busy one for the auction houses in our largest city. Tonight Mossgreen-Webb's starts with an Important Art Sale with a McCahon from the Pat & Gil Hanly collection as their centrepiece. Tomorrow night International Art Centre have an Important & Rare Art Sale featuring a long lost portrait of Sir John Logan Campbell at Kilbryde by Louis John Steele. In the work (as featured above) Campbell sits in front of his window with view out to Rangitoto and North Head. Bowerbank Ninow's sale on Wednesday night has a large mix of works on paper, a great way to buy a work by a desirable artist at an affordable price. Last, but not least, Art + Object feature a selection of photography in their art sale on Thursday night. Click on all names to link to their website for a look. Happy bidding!
Photo: courtesy Mossgreen-Webbs
La Chute d'Icare (the Fall of Icarus), Pureora: The Last Flight of the Kokako.
Oil on Board, 1979
One of the highlights from the Warwick and Kitty Brown art collection at Mossgreen-Webb's was lot 18, a major ornithological and environmental artwork from New Zealand artist Don Binney.
Estimated at $300,000 - $500,000, it was hammered down for $529,000, a clear auction record for the artist. Prices have seen a dramatic upward trajectory in recent years for his bird paintings.
The artwork was created at the request of an environmental group looking for a fundraising postcard to help save the ancient forests at Poreora.
The provenance and a perfect culmination of the artists technique (combed paint and palette-knife application), environmental vision and a deep admiration of New Zealand birdlife saw this painting make a deserved artist auction record and a worthy place in the canon of great New Zealand paintings.
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's. Artist: Basquiat Untitled 1982.
RECORD AUCTION PRICE FOR BASQUIAT and RECORD PRICE FOR AN AMERICAN ARTIST AT AUCTION.
A 1982 untitled artwork by American Jean-Michel Basquiat reached dizzying new heights at Sotheby's contemporary art auction in New York. The artwork sold for US$110.5 million (including buyer's premium), to Japanese collector Yusaka Maezawa, who is currently establishing an art museum in Chiba, Japan.
This price puts the artwork in the top ten most expensive artworks ever sold at auction.
The artwork was originally purchased in 1984, for US$19,000 by an astute collector, whose daughters were selling the picture.
The previous auction record for a Basquiat was sold at Christies, in May 2016. Also another untitled artwork from 1982, for US$57.3 million (including buyer's premium).
Basquiat died in 1988 aged 27.
Image: Lot 2109954 Limited Edition Gold Elvis LP. Governmentauctions.com
Interesting to read that prices for Elvis Presley memorabilia have been plummeting recently. In a very informative article in the Guardian it notes that for the 'first time in popular music history, Elvis records and collections were dropping in value.' Examples include, Good Rockin' Tonight LP listed in the 1998 Rare Record Guide at 125 pounds, but according to online record database Discogs - 0ver the past ten years the median price it has fetched is 13 pounds and fifty pence. In December 2015 a rare, market fresh acetate recording of Suspicion emerged. Expected to sell for 12,000 pounds at auction, it only realised 6,000 pounds, sending a collective chill through investors of Elvis memorabilia.
For the past fifty years Elvis has been the gold standard in music memorabilia collecting but a combination of an ageing and shrinking base of collectors and a flood of stock on the market as the collectors pass on has seen prices drop dramatically.
Is it possible this may happen to Beatles memorabilia in the future, when fans who had a direct connection to the music age and new generations lack the emotive nostalgia that drives a lot of the collecting. I think that the Beatles had such a massive influence on the pop culture landscape that any items directly associated with the Beatles will continue to hold their value but any secondary or lesser quality collectables will drop off in collectability.
The old adage holds true; always buy what you love, then if it losses value, you still love it.
The Antiques Trade Gazette have put together two lists of the Top Ten Best Performing Items on their online platform thesaleroom.com for the January to March period. The Maori nose flute illustrated above topped both lists when it sold for £140,000 pounds against an estimate of £50-100. Sold on February 23rd by John Nicholson's in Surrey, it was the "Top Selling Lot" for this period and also the "Top Highest Price Over Estimate Object Sold". In the article the ATG mentions how hard it can be to value 'esoteric' items outside their normal market and the phenomenon of the sleeper. John Nicholson said in a statement that "Although it was not clear initially what we had [it was catalogued as a pipe], we were well aware of its significance before the sale. We already had a substantial commission bid on the books, so it wasn't really a sleeper in the classic sense". (Antiques Trade Gazette No. 2289 29 April 2017 pg 24).
Meanwhile a sleeper in Ireland at Auction House Adam's of Christ wearing a crown of thorns estimated at £500-800 sold for £102,830. The spokesman James O'Halloran had a the most apt and lovely quote with regard to sleepers saying "We've not had many sleepers here but when you do you have a sense of joy tinged with embarrassment". Anyone who has worked in an auction house will know this feeling!
A rare and unusual collection of 19th century trophies have been donated back to the Athletics club they were won from 145 years ago. Great story here from the stuff.co.nz.
The most up to date information from the Herald on Sunday, click here.
Two recently rediscovered works by John Lewin are thought to be the earliest work of Australia by a European, dating from between 1800 - 1807. They are part of the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Lewin died in Australia in 1819. Read Guardian article here.
Paul Walsh a well known street artist around Auckland's Mt Eden, has painted this fitting tribute to "his childhood hero" who inspired him to draw his own comics when he was young. Painted on the night he heard of Murray Ball's death, Dog's image looking up at a star is painted onto the water reservoir on top of Three Kings. While painted without permission, after thousands of complimentary responses, Watercare has decided to keep the work - for now. (source: NZ Herald)
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