Important Contemporary Art, 7 April 2022

Posted on 8 April 2022

Art+Object is pleased to report a final sale total of $2 134 639 from its April auction of Important Paintings and Contemporary Art.

The catalogue included many excellent and new record prices, including the setting of new benchmarks for the work of Bill Culbert and Mark Adams. The former was represented by two fine examples both fresh from their recent inclusion in the excellent Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki exhibition, ‘Slow Wonder’. Both works comfortably exceeded their top estimates to bring $15 691 and $25 347, respectively. Aside from the new benchmark set for distinguished New Zealand photographer Mark Adams ($28 968), Peter Peryer’s work also fared very well with all six images selling and top price of $10 863 going to his 1989 image of Ruapehu taken on Christmas day in 1989. Fiona Pardington’s large-scale photographs of native birds continue to be increasingly sought-after with her Portrait of a Female Kiwi, Apteryx Haasti sailing beyond the estimate of $45 000 - $65 000 to make $82 076.

Among the rarer highlights from the catalogue was an original, signed 1972 screenprint by Andy Warhol from his ‘Chairman Mao’ series. With registered bidders on the phone and internet from Europe and America it was pleasing to see it sell to a local collector bidding in the room ($96 560). All five works by Gordon Walters sold with edition 1 of the high-profile NFT issued by the Gordon Walters Estate and Glorious realizing top estimate and selling for $36 210. All further editions of the NFT have subsequently sold out. Both Shane Cotton’s major ‘History’ paintings sold post-sale with top price going to his 1997 painting Maunga ($132 770). The two major Ralph Hotere paintings were both keenly bid for as that market continues to experience renewed activity and collector interest. His major 1983 Black Window painting which was exhibited at the 1984 Sydney Biennale bought a very respectable $181 050 against $130 000 - $180 000. The most keenly fought bidding battle of the night was for the small Bill Hammond masterpiece, Watching for Buller. Greatly admired, it realised $137 598 against its enticing estimate of $60 000 - $80 000, courtesy of competition from no fewer than six bidders.

Art+Object made little secret of the fact that they thought that the suite of three Milan Mrkusich ‘Achromatic’ paintings to be among the most serious examples of sophisticated abstraction to come to market in many years and was pleased that all three sold successfully, with two selling under the hammer and one being negotiated subsequently. Sculpture by Paul Dibble and Terry Stringer was also keenly sought-after with the former’s elegantly proportioned 'Torso Figure 1' bringing $108 630 and the latter’s 'I do remember you' $43 452.

You can view the full list of results here (all prices include buyers premium and GST).