An oil painting considered to be one of the finest by renowned artist Charles Goldie brought a record auction price at a sale in Auckland last night.
The 1933 oil of Maori chief Hori Pokai sold for $454,000 at an auction at the International Art Centre in Parnell of important, early and rare 19th and 20th century art.
Art Centre director Richard Thomson said it was "an absolute boomer" of a sale, with the Goldie taking centre stage as the most important work on offer.
The Goldie, A Summer's Day Hori Pokai (also known as Sleep 'tis a Gentle Thing) was expected to bring between $240,000 and $280,000.
Mr Thomson said given increasing talk of a recession, it was almost one of the best art auctions ever held in New Zealand.
"It indicates a strong interest in historical New Zealand paintings.
"You will find that perhaps in a downturn of the economy, these sort of paintings will outshine anything. It is not like the contemporary market. It is a different ball game," Mr Thomson said.
He said Goldie was the only artist in the last decade or two who had shown a steady upward growth in value.
"Through the bad times and the good times, they have always sold for a little bit more.
"Goldie has always been gold,"' he said.
Two Goldie paintings sold for $1 million in 1991 but that sale was not an auction.
"This is the highest live auction price paid for a Goldie."
The previous highest auction price was $330,000 in 2001.
The new owner of the latest Goldie to be sold was bidding by telephone from within New Zealand. His name had not been revealed.
The Goldie painting sold last night had never been on the market since it was bought by a private owner in 1948, the year after Goldie died.
It was a significant work and Goldies of that quality seldom came on the market, Mr Thomson said.
A pair of paintings by Charles Blomfield in 1883 of the Pink and White Terraces, sold for $180,000, also well above their estimated price of $150,000.
An 1883 water colour of Queenstown sold for $72,000, compared with its expected price of $45,000. The work would return to Queenstown for the first time since it was painted.
The sale also brought a record price for a Peter McIntyre work. An oil painting of the Otago Peninsula sold for $52,000.
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