Wednesday 19 September 2012
The Les and Milly Paris Collection
The Les and Milly Paris Collection set the new benchmark for an art auction in New Zealand. With a sale total of over $4.5 million and numerous artist records set this is a collection, catalogue and auction which will be long remembered. An early indication of the grip this legendary collection has on the New Zealand consciousness was seen in the first pre-auction exhibition in Wellington where over 700 visitors streamed through over a two day preview of only 25 works from the collection. A particular highlight of the Auckland pre-auction exhibition was a standing room only interview between Ron Brownson, Senior Curator at the Auckland Art Gallery and Milly Paris. Milly charted the beginnings of the collection when she and Les were a young married couple in the early 1960s through to their first forays to the Eric Scholes Gallery in Rotorua, the Barry lett Gallery in Auckland and of course the Peter McLeavey Gallery in their hometown of Wellington. Les and Milly's story was quite literally a history of the art scene in New Zealand from the 1960s to the present day. The two auction nights were the best attended in the company's history and resulted in numerous new auction records for artists including Brent Wong, Michael Smither, Charles Tole, Gordon Walters, Michael Illingworth, Allen Maddox, Robin White, Phil Clairmont and Seraphine Pick.