A famous New Zealand painting that managed to both criticise Sir Paul Holmes and earn a spot in his treasured art collection has sold last night.
Charles Minnow at Webb's Auction House said the painting went for around $80,000, iincluding commission.
White Drip II, painted in response to Holmes' 2003 "cheeky darkie" comment, features isolated white paint drips on a black background.
Its painter, Ralph Hotere, dedicated the piece to Holmes' after his infamous comment against then-United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan on a radio show.
Instead of Holmes' taking offense he bought the work, adding it to his prized collection at the Mana Lodge in Hawke's Bay, where he died February last year.
Rotere was known for his social commentary, said Minnow.
"This is a mature piece of work where he cast his eyes on current affairs and while on the surface it's about Paul Holmes it is really about a much bigger conversation regarding race relations in New Zealand and the world."
Holmes said in 2008 he thought buying the work was "rather a gas".
"The other reason I bought the painting, apart from the fact that it related to something specifically I had done, is that I think it's a beautiful work. I suppose it was a chance to take something positive out of the whole miserable experience of those few weeks."
The auction's highest bid of the night was the $281,000 splashed out on landscape painting North Otago Seven by Colin McCahon.