Mayo painting sells for $55,400

Last updated 16:27 08/08/2014
Eileen Mayo
TOP SELLER: Eileen Mayo's Sea Holly

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A painting by a renowned British artist, who lived and painted in New Zealand for more than 30 years, has sold for $55,400 at an auction in Auckland.

Dame Eileen Mayo lived in New Zealand until her death in 1994 and painted Sea Holly - a surrealist tempera on board.

The work was predicted to reach up to $35,000 at the International Art Centre in Parnell's auction on Wednesday.

The previous record for an Eileen Mayo work was for Lobster Pot which sold for $43,200 in 2008 at an Australian auction.

Sea Holly was bought by Ilene and Laurence Dakin Bequest as a gift to the Auckland Art Gallery.

International Art Centre Director, Richard Thomson, says Aucklanders should be excited the painting now has a permanent home for the public to enjoy.

"This is quite a stunning piece of art. Dame Eileen lived and worked as an artist here for many years and her contribution to the art scene in New Zealand was enormous."

The painting, which most recently was held in a private collection in Auckland, features a surrealist portrayal of sea holly in flower on a sandy shore with a backdrop of the sky and ocean.

Dame Eileen painted Sea Holly when she was studying at Academie Montmartre in Paris.

Dame Eileen was 87 when she died in Christchurch in 1994.

She was born in England and was soon widely acclaimed for her work.

She moved to Australia in 1952 and to New Zealand 10 years later in 1962.

During her time in New Zealand she designed stamps including the 1969 Cook Bicentenary and 1971 Antarctic Treaty stamps, Unicef commemorative stamps and three fish stamps in 1970 for the New Zealand Post Office.

She became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire a week before she died.

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