With more than $20 million worth of paintings, sculpture and photography going under the hammer in the past 12 months, 2013 was a record year for the New Zealand art market.
Auction sales totalled $20,763,000 - the highest on record, according to the Australian Art Sales Digest. That total included the sale of Charles Goldie's Kawhena in November for $732,800 by the International Art Centre, the highest price paid at auction for a painting in NZ.
After the first $20 million year in 2012, which included the sale of the $4.52 million Les and Milly Paris collection, 2013 showed the economic strength of the art market in New Zealand.
"What has been very satisfying this year is without that one-off event, we have had a year that was as strong as last year. That tells me that the underlying market is pretty solid, or improving," said Hamish Coney, managing director at Art+Object gallery.
Despite an estimated 20 per cent drop in sales around the world during the global financial crisis, the New Zealand art market proved stable throughout the recession.
"That is because fundamentally in the art market there is no debt, people do not borrow money to buy an artwork. It's real New Zealanders spending hard earned dollars on things they intend to treasure and keep for a long time," said Coney.
And in 2013 Kiwis saw value in contemporary New Zealand artists.
A record price for a living artist went to Bill Hammond for his painting Farmer's Market, sold at auction for $328,300 in November, by Webb's Auction House. Webb's sold $7.6m of artwork this year, a 20 per cent rise on 2012.
"It gives us an indication the market is feeling buoyant heading into Christmas, which is good for everyone." said Webb chief executive Neil Campbell.
"Not since the heady days of the early 2000s has there been so much liquidity and firm demand in the art market."
THE YEAR'S BIG SALES
Charles Goldie's Kawhena, painted in 1892, for $732,800, the highest price paid for a painting at auction in New Zealand (International Art Centre).
Gordon Walters' Tautahi, sold for $439,684.
The highest price for the artist at auction was one of three Walters works sold at auction in excess of $400,000 in the past 18 months (Art + Object).
Colin McCahon's Noughts and Crosses Series II No V 1976, sold for $281,400 (Art + Object).
Pat Hanly's Golden Age, 1973, sold for $229,810, a new record for the artist (Art + Object).
Bill Hammond's Farmer's Market sold for $328,300, the record for a living New Zealand artist. (Webb's)
- Sunday Star Times