Dame Kiri cashes in on painting

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 08:14 27/07/2012
Sir Peter Siddell painting

HOT PROPERTY: Sir Peter Sidells's painting Opening, owned by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, has fetched a record price.

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Opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has sold a piece from her art collection for a record price.

The 1988 oil on canvas painting, Opening, by New Zealand artist Sir Peter Siddell, was bought by a private buyer for $218,000 at an auction at the International Art Centre in Auckland last night.

The winning bid was $191,000 but with the 15% commission the successful bidder paid $218,000.

It was more than double the previous record for a Siddell.

The painting was described as "a suburban mosaic of villas and bungalows" which included the Mt Eden shopping village where he lived.

Dame Kiri had owned the painting for a decade.

International Art Centre director Richard Thomson said the singer sold the painting as part of her philosophy of constantly updating and changing her collection.

In 2010 another painting she owned, Forty Winks by Charles Frederick Goldie, sold for $573,000 - the highest price paid for a Goldie painting offered at auction.

Bidding was brisk for the Siddell work last night, mostly with bids from around New Zealand but also with some overseas interest.

Thomson said the Siddell price reflected the mood of art lovers who were often not influenced by the state of the economy.

"Fine art has always been a good investment and we have found time and time again that even when the economy is under pressure, there will also be buyers for quality art simply because it is like having money in the bank."

At last night's sale a 1984 oil painting by Don Binney of Karekare Beach sold for $173,000 and a rare example of Goldie's early work, Study of Still Life, painted in 1890 when Goldie was only 20, sold for $183,000.

This story has been corrected to show the year Opening was painted as 1988, not 1998. Changes also clarify the winning bid plus commission make up the $218,000 paid.

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- Fairfax Media

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