18 Oct 2013

Paintings of Maori excite art world

8:02 pm on 18 October 2013

Three sought-after paintings of Maori are set to be auctioned next month, causing excitement and great interest from art collectors.

The paintings, by Charles F Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer, are expected to fetch well over $500,000 between them at Webb's auction house in Auckland.

Goldie's "One of the Old School", painted in 1931 and depicting chieftainess Wiripine Ninia of Ngati Awa, and his 1920 portrait of chieftainess Te Hei, of Ngati Raukawa, show the sitters' intricately carved ta moko and pounamu earrings.

Lindauer's "Mrs Huia Whakamairu, Wairarapa" illustrates Huia's status through her traditional Maori cloak and precious adornments.

Webb's auction house fine arts specialist Charles Ninow says the work is historically important, as Huia was related to Ihia Whakamairu, who sold large areas of land in the Masterton area to Pakeha settlers.

The painting is a poignant reminder of an important time in Aotearoa's development and cultural history. He says the painting of Huia Whakamairu is also significant as it was painted early in Lindauer's career, in 1876, Mr Ninow says.

Goffried's portraits began a new era in the depiction of Maori, with the artist trained to paint European dignitaries and applying the same respectful treatment he used with them to his Maori sitters.

The way Lindauer painted Maori captured their wairua, or spirit, and mana in a way not previously depicted, he says. The paintings are also important historical references.

The auction is due to take place on 28 November.