4 Aug 2010

Fine art market on the up

9:55 am on 4 August 2010

New Zealand's largest fine art auction house says the market for art is the strongest it's been in a decade.

About $1 million worth of works were on offer at Webb's auction house in Auckland on Tuesday night.

Reasons for buying fine art are varied but many agree the market is improving. The company is experiencing its strongest sales in 10 years.

Executive director and auctioneer Sophie Coupland says a lack of other investment choices could a key factor in the improvements.

Three paintings were sold for more than $200,000, including Lying in the Blackland by Shane Cotton. One of his most important works, it sold for $225,000.

Man's Head From Te Henga III by Don Binney and All Along the Heaphy Highway by Bill Hammond were also sold for more than $200,000.

Buyer Allan Henderson says it could be a signal the wider economy is on the mend.

Webbs expects post auction sales over the next few days will bring the total auction value to about $1.5 million.