29 Mar 2013

Top dollar paid at rare art at auction

1:02 am on 29 March 2013

A sale of unique New Zealand art, including work by acclaimed artists Ralph Hotere and Charles F. Goldie, exceeded expectations when it went under the hammer on Wednesday night.

The event, at Webb's auction house in Auckland, caused excitement amongst art collectors due to the rarity of the paintings on offer.

Ralph Hotere's Viyapati's Song sold for $222,000, $10,000 above its lowest estimate.

Charles F. Goldie's portrait of a revered Maori chief, The Whitening Snow of the Venerable Atama Paparangi, painted in 1913, was predicted to sell between $190,000 and $250,000 but was snapped up for $258,000.

His portrait of a young Maori woman, Natarua Hangapa from Arawa, entitled Ngatirea (Day Dreams), also sold above predictions.

A Webb's auction house spokesperson says due to financial constraints, private investors rather than museums and institutions were able to pay top dollar for the paintings.

Sophie Coupland says as a result there was minimal interest from organisations such as Te Papa.

Ms Coupland says private collectors, including some from overseas, competed for Goldie's The Whitening Snow of the Venerable Atama Paparangi.

She says it's not uncommon for collectors to purchase works without ever having sighted them in person.