Ralph Hotere art fetches top dollar

Last updated 07:42 23/11/2012
Vive Aramoana
JASON OXENHAM/Fairfax NZ

SOLD: International Art Centre director Richard Thomson with Ralph Hotere's painting Vive Aramoana.

RENOWNED ARTIST: Ralph Hotere.
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RENOWNED ARTIST: Ralph Hotere.

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A Ralph Hotere artwork depicting the fight to stop an aluminium smelter being built at Aramoana sold for $183,000 at an auction in Auckland last night.

The work, Vive Aramoana, was part of an 11-piece collection that once hung in the historic Carey's Bay Hotel, in Port Chalmers, and was sold by the International Art Centre in Parnell.

The collection sold for about $250,000.

Two other Hotere works were also up for grabs last night but didn't sell. They are still under offer and negotiations are continuing today, gallery director Richard Thompson said. 

In total the 13 artworks are expected to sell for between $300,000 and $400,000.

Hotere, 81, has lived in Carey's Bay for more than 40 years.

Thomson said there was ''spirited bidding'' for the entire collection.

"Ralph Hotere is a very fine painter of exceptional talent but has always been reluctant to talk about his work," he said. "He prefers people to make up their own mind without influence from him.

"Hotere works have an allure to them that makes them very powerful.''

The artist painted Vive Aramoana in the early 1980s as part of the protest movement to stop an aluminium smelter being built at the entrance to Otago Harbour.

Thompson said the work sold for a ''very respectable'' price which reflected the renewed interest in Hotere's art.

He said it was rare that such an important and significant collection of Hotere's work came on the market.

A painting by another celebrated New Zealand artist, Charles Goldie, called Relics of a Bygone Age, Mere Werohia, sold for $284,000 at the auction.

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