This 1967 painting of a Taranaki sea wall with Kotare by Michael Smither sold for $342,000 (incl. premium) at International Art Centre last week. This beats Bill Hammond who's work Farmer's Market (featuring his Birdmen) sold for $322,000 at Webb's in 2013. One thing is sure, we kiwi's love our bird paintings!
Read Stuff article here.
The estate of Guy Ngan (1926-2017), artist and collector, came to auction at Cordy's on Monday 7th October. The 282 lot sale consisted of works by Ngan of various media including screenprint, painting and sculpture. It also featured a collection of items gifted to him and his wife by his many artist friends over the years.
There were two stand out lots that have now become record auction prices. Lot 79 was a work entitled 'Australasia No.2' a large 1970s oil on board measuring almost 2m in length. This work sold for $40,000 which beats the previous work by $400.
The other is a large form garden pot by another multi-talented artist, Roy Cowan (1918-2006). Described as "modelled with scrolls reminiscent of a Ionic capital", it stood 730 mm high. As illustrated above, it featured on the cover of NZ Potter Magazine in Spring 1971. Cowan's large scale pots have always been popular as modernist garden sculptures, this one sold for $18,500 passing the previous record by $2,500.
Interest in the artist's work has increased since his death two years ago. A large retrospective exhibition at The Dowse (Habitation) and a show at Artspace (Either Possible or Necessary) have spotlit his talent in the recent months, and would have helped the current market interest in his collection.
More information about the artist and the Dowse exhibition is here.
I was lucky to be in Wellington last week, so was able to attend two of the three sales that made up the Fine & Applied Art Sale at Dunbar Sloane. The Fine Art auction did well for some works, but the following day lunchtime sale of more affordable works was much better attended and seemed more bouyant.
Lot 241, a work by Gwen Knight did very well. The Goldfish Pond was a gouache on paper work, measuring 42 x 55 cm. It was estimated at $1,500.
Knight was born in 1888 in Wellington and in 1929 at age 41 went to Europe to study art. A chance encounter with Frances Hodgkins in St Tropez lead to a long and happy friendship and introduced her to many of the movers and shakers of the European art scene. Knight is the model in the work "Pinewoods", by Hodgkins in Te Papa's collection.
Hans Hoffman taught her painting in Munich. André Lhote showed her the Cubist craft in Paris. In London she spent time studying under Bissiére .
Such a world class arts education profoundly affected her painting.
Thrown into war, Europe would no longer be the exciting, thriving place to be for a 60 year old woman artist. Knight returned to New Zealand in 1948, where, together with Helen Stewart, she became an important element of the Wellington art scene throughout the 50s and 60s.
Gwen Knight died in 1974.
On the secondary market her prices have been varied. Works have been slow to the market with only one painting a year coming onto the market over the last 5 years.
However, perhaps bouyed by her adjacency to Francis Hodgkins (who is "having her time in the sun"), this work raced above the top estimate of $2,500 to $4,900 (+BP). I suspect this was an institutional buy and it hopefully represents a heightened interest in our much under-represented woman painters.
Excellent bio on Ferner Galleries website.
Even though Andy Warhol is one of the most famous artists in the world, his works pop up surprisingly frequently at auction in New Zealand. Both Art + Object and Webb's had a Warhol in their art sales last week, each selling within a few days of each other. At A+O the top price of the night went to Andy Warhol's Marilyn which sold for $141 000 (incl. BP & gst). Webb's had a Soup Can screenprint that sold for $41,125 (incl. BP) the very next evening. Two iconic pieces by the artist.
Michael Parekowhai is always a favourite at auction. Three works of differing media, were up for sale last week; a kowhaiwhai printed lightbox (at Art + Object), a large scale photograph and an unique hand finished bronze 'sapling' (at Webb's). The Moment of Cubism (the lemon tree sapling) sold for $64,625 (incl. BP) against an estimate of $25,000 - $35,000. The three editions that had sold previously at auction were all sold for around the $30,000 mark, so this was a great price. The Bosom of Abraham light box sold for $14,415 (incl. BP & gst) and Passchendaele a large scale c-type photograph sold for $20,562.50 (incl BP). These were both marginally lighter than the highest prices of previous versions at auction. Winter can keep some buyers away from the sale room, so I look forward to the effect of the coming warmer and lighter months on the art market.
Two record auction prices were achieved last night at International Art Centre's Important & Rare Art sale. Firstly, lot 21 was an early Karl Maughan painting (1988), in a more realist style than his contemporary works, 'Marigolds and Sweetcorn' was part of the Telecom Collection, now the Spark Art Trust Collection. It is hard to tell whether its beautiful painted quality or its collection history added to its record price of $98,000 (hammer price, not including premium). This beats the previous record of $96,113 (incl BP) for 'Rhododendron and Ponga' a work from the collection of Kiri Te Kawana, also sold by International Art Centre.
Secondly, Lot 32 was Michael Smither's painting 'Saint Francis and the Wolf' and was estimated at $120,000-160,000. Interest from bidders pushed this up to $240,000 (hammer price). This work also had very good provenance, coming direct from the artist's own collection. The previous record was $230,000 (assumed to be hammer price) for The Family in The Van, part of the Les and Milly Paris collection, which broke all sorts of records at Art + Object back in 2012.
Prices were high at what was billed as one of the last large art collection like this in private hands. Noel & Margaret Dick began their collection in the late 1970s and became regulars at auction houses around New Zealand for the next few decades. A market fresh sale is always beloved by collectors and institutions, and the bids reflected that. Lot 21 featured a favourite subject of Rita Angus - the Magnolia tree in her garden. (I hear this tree is still there). Estimated at $60,000 - $80,000 it fetched $175,000 + premium, beating the previous record for a work on paper by Angus by $75,000. See Dunbar's website for the catalogue and results here.
Erika and I are sorry to hear of the passing away of Peter Webb, a true kiwi cultural hero.
Peter was our boss at Peter Webb Galleries (Webb’s Auctions) from when Erika started at Webb’s in 2001 to when I finished in 2014. Peter was a true gentleman and an inspiring person to work for. He had a massive input in establishing and driving New Zealand’s post war modern art environment.
Peter’s artistic curiosity, entrepreneurial drive and impeccable eye, saw him build a career that touched on almost all aspects of the New Zealand art market.
In 1958 he started NZ’s first dealer only gallery Argus, featuring emerging modernist NZ artists including good friend Colin McCahon’s first Auckland show (French Bay paintings).
He was a founding director of NZ’s first art and antique auction house, John Cordy’s in 1963.
As Exhibition’s Officer at The Auckland Art Gallery, 1973, he staged NZ’s first blockbuster art show, John Constable - The Natural Painter.
In 1974 he helped launch the quarterly art magazine, Art New Zealand.
Also in 1974 he re-opened his own gallery (Peter Webb Galleries) which after a series of successful antique and art auctions evolved into the leading specialist art auction house in New Zealand.
An interview with Peter is available on the Cultural Icons website here.
We send our thoughts and best wishes to Annie, Sophie and the rest of Peter’s family.
April 2019 marks our tenth year of operation as an independent art and antique valuing company. We would like to thank the thousands of people who have contributed to our continued success for this long. We have appraised; museum, private art and corporate collections. We have valued single items to 10,000 item collections and everything in-between. We have valued single tea cups, Chinese furniture and Charles Frederick Goldie's. We have helped with the valuing of items taken by house fires, earthquakes and burglaries. Our work has taken us from Whangarei to Christchurch.
We really love our work and look forward to what each day sends our way. Our passion for the arts and antique world is still alive and well and is a reason why we have had longevity. Thank you to who has contributed, enquired and involved us for the last decade.
Erika and Josh.
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