Auction of New Zealand’s top works of art expected to see record sales

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Some of the country’s greatest artworks will go under the hammer this weekend, in what’s predicted to be New Zealand’s highest-grossing auction ever.

Leigh Melville

Art+Object auction house co-director, Leigh Melville Photo: support

Art+Object auction house co-director Leigh Melville believes some of the works will sell for $2 million.

Artists featured include Colin McCahon, Frances Hodgkins and Tony Fomison. Melville says the works are all from a single collection.

She said the collectors had a deep appreciation for McCahon’s work and that the auction included range of pieces that were top quality. The piece St Matthew: lightening, 1977, is expected to sell for close to $2m.

“It’s a very large work and a very important one in a group of last paintings that McCahon was working on before he passed away and one that he spends a lot of time revisiting in a number of times to produce the result,” she said.

The auction will take place at both the Art+Object auction house in Auckland, and online.

It was great to be back in a limited retail environment with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Auckland, enabling the auction to take place in sale room, Melville added.

“We will have the auction live on Saturday and Sunday. Some people won’t choose to attend but we have the really great bidding apps that we’ve developed over the past couple of years, so there’s plenty of opportunity to parttake without necessarily being here.”

The potential buyers are mostly domestic art collectors, she said.

“Fortunately we have a really strong group of supporters and people who are interested in the New Zealand art market and who collect New Zealand art based right here.

“We do of course have ex-patriat people living overseas who still collect New Zealand art. But largely we believe these works of art will be sold to local collectors.”

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