Important Paintings and Contemporary Art

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Important Paintings and Contemporary Art including Five Paintings from the Estate of Gordon Walters (1919–1995) 11 APril 2013

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Art+oBJEct 3 Abbey Street newton Auckland Po Box 68 345 newton Auckland 1145 telephone: +64 9 354 4646 Freephone: 0 800 80 60 01 Facsimile: +64 9 354 4645

covers, left to right: works from the Estate of Gordon walters lots 24, 20, 23 the portrait of Gordon walters in his studio on page one is by Marti Friedlander and appears courtesy of her

welcome to A+o’s first major art catalogue of 2013, one we are proud to present and one which we hope may cause the odd sleepless night. the above quote from a leading American art collector speaks to a truth we experience on a daily basis. Few of us will ever have the means to build a collection of the scale that Hess has created but we can dream. (for more information on the Museum of the Hess Foundation see the works presented in this catalogue demonstrate the richness and vitality of new Zealand’s visual arts practitioners. the weeks before publication are an intense but happy time for the A+o team. the artworks are inspected thoroughly, researched, photographed and essays from leading writers are commissioned. the process of handling the works is a time of great interaction and discussion as we discover original exhibition history, publication and documentation provenance and all the information that relates to the ‘zeitgeist’ from which a work may spring. connections are made. For example a clear lineage exists between theo Schoon’s early koru explorations to Gordon walters high modernist treatment of the form as realised in tautahi from 1971 (lot 19) and through to Michael Parekowhai’s reframing of this discussion in Kiss the Baby Goodbye (lot 35) and Andrew McLeod’s potent exploration of the form in Kowhaiwhai Sun (lot 6). the wellspring of these motifs belong of course within Maori visual arts discourses and the use of these in the modern art context has been the subject of intense debate. what cannot be argued however is that these forms are recognized as vital signifiers of identity within the culture of Aotearoa new Zealand. the same can said of the work of ralph Hotere (1931-2013) who is represented by four works in this catalogue. His recent passing was mourned by the entire nation. the focus will soon turn to his legacy. this is a conversation that will endure for many lifetimes. what we can say is that Hotere’s work is utterly from new Zealand and speaks to the world, both in terms of his understanding of the wider modernist art discourse and the events and ideas that shaped the world, new Zealand and his birthplace of Mitimiti in the far north. it has been a great privilege to consider these thoughts whilst we have been preparing this catalogue.


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Art At Auction 2012: A rEcorD YEAr

16 nEw ArtiSt rEcorD PricES

2012 proved to be a record year for art sales at auction in new Zealand. the Australian Art Sales Digest which tracks all art sales at auction in Australia and new Zealand recorded a new record figure of $20.25 million for the calendar year. this represented an increase of 30% over 2011 sales figures of $15.55 million. it also surpassed the previous market high from 2003 when $19.77 million was recorded. Art+oBJEct led the market in 2012 with annual sales of $7.7 million including the Les and Milly Paris collection auction which was the highest grossing art and collectible auction in new Zealand history.

Liz Maw robert Heald $30 485

Michael Parekowhai Atarangi $80 060

Gordon walters Painting no.7 $433 000

Geoff thornley Voice of Mimesis no.3 $29 310

(highest selling painting at auction in 2012)

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Phil clairmont Large Hexagonal table $70 000

Michael Smither the Family in the Van $234 500

Allen Maddox wanker $87 900

Dale Frank ultimogeniture Brachylogy Brain Fever Dead Set $83 245

Yvonne todd January $11 725

Peter robinson Boy am i Scarred Eh $140 000

Peter Stichbury Liberty $70 350

Michael illingworth As Adam and Eve $234 500

Brent wong Mean time Exposure $105 500

robin white white’s Place $140 000

Seraphine Pick Sound $64 500

Julian Dashper untitled (receding and Projecting Paintings) $38 000

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MArcH 2013 cAtALoGuE HiGHLiGHtS nEw coLLEctorS Art ASiAn Art MoDErn DESiGn DEcorAtiVE ArtS A+o’s first sale week of the year was a large and eclectic 850 lot offering which included new Zealand contemporary art and photography, early new Zealand tourism posters, chinese porcelain, Peking Glass, European, Australian and new Zealand modernist furniture, taxidermy, studio pottery and selected decorative arts. Prices realised include buyer’s premium

nZ railways Publicity Branch chateau tongariro, national Park, 1932 $4335

Large Qianlong period (1736–1795) chinese export Mandarin pattern punchbowl $9380

Allen Maddox Verse from Keats oil on jute, 1976 $10 550

Michael Parekowhai Portrait of Elmer Keith no.1 type c print, 2004 $18 170

Jaiqing Mark and period (1796–1820) Famille rose tea tray $47 150

Paul Kafka Mid-century Australian marquetry sideboard $11 255

John Pule the Sun, Moon, wind and Stars acrylic, ink and enamel on canvas, 2011 $19 930

republican period (1912–1949) chinese famille rose vase attributed to Liang Duishi $9775

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19th century Japanese Satsuma bowl $2070

Len Castle Large bird headed bowl $3515

1970s Danish thams Kvalitet vintage two seater $3165

Kofod Larsen Danish sideboard in Brazilian rosewood $9380


Ralph Hotere winter Solstice at carey’s Bay oil pastel on paper, 1991 $19 930


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find out more

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The Collection of the Late Nicholas Browne May 14th ART+OBJECT announces the collection of the late Nicholas Browne. A carefully considered, directional and idiosyncratic collection principally compiled in the 1990s, Browne possessed a wonderful eye for contemporary art informed by close relationships with artists, dealers and fellow collectors. The collection consists of around 60 lots by key contemporary New Zealand artists, many of whom Browne collected in depth, including: Andrew McLeod, Julian Dashper, Bill Hammond, Peter Robinson, Giovanni Intra, SĹ˝ raphine Pick, Richard Killeen, Ralph Hotere and many more. For further information please contact: Ben Plumbly Director of Art DDI: (09) 306 6191 Cell: 021 222 8183

Tony de Lautour Long Dragon Brand oil on found Machete knife, 1997 625 x 125 x 250mm $3000 Ă? $5000

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The Collection of the Late Nicholas Browne May 14th Andrew McLeod Abstract Painting oil on canvas 452 x 387mm $2500 Ă? $4000

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Warren Viscoe the Virtual Epiphany of wL Buller privet, kauri, acrylic, stain, wax 900 x 250 x 250mm $5000 – $8000

Contact: Leigh Melville 09 3544 646 021 406 678

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ASiAn Art incLuDinG tHE MArK AnD PErioD coLLEction tHurSDAY 27 JunE Entries invited until 17 May

the June Asian art catalogue will feature the collection of Dr John A. and Louise Gray carefully compiled over twenty years and which includes mark and period chinese porcelain, fine jade and furniture.

An imperial yellow ground dragon dish. the base inscribed in aubergine with a Guangxu six character mark, and of the period. D.140mm An imperial yellow ground Green enamelled footed bowl. the white base with a Guangxu six character mark and of the period. D.120mm

Contact: James Parkinson 09 3544 646 021 222 8184 Giulia rodighiero 09 354 4646

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Andersen, Brødrene Bernadotte, Sigvard Cawardine, George Day, Robin Eames, Charles and Ray Fabricius, Preben Gehry, Frank Hvidt, Peter Iversen, Arne Juhl, Finn Kristiansen, Kai Larsen, Kofod Mogensen, Borge

Wegner, Hans Zalloni, Cari

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MoDErn DESiGn wEDnESDAY 26 JunE Entries invited until 17 May

the June Modern Design catalogue will include a large offering of Danish mid-century furniture including six fine examples by Hans wegner together with a superb offering of American mid-century including pieces by George Mulhauser and vintage examples by charles and ray Eames. the sale will also feature a Bob roukema designed chair in excellent original condition together with an offering of further new Zealand made mid-century furniture.

Kai Kristiansen for Feldbellas Mobelfabrik Model 54 walnut desk. circa 1956. $4000 – $6000

Contact: James Parkinson 09 3544 646 021 222 8184

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nZ AnD intErnAtionAL StuDio PottErY wEDnESDAY 26 JunE Entries invited until 17 May

the June catalogue will be A+o’s most significant offering since the sale of the Martin Hill ceramic collection in June 2011. the sale will include a collection of Hamada Shoji pieces together with a large collection of Mashiko pottery along with superb pieces by tatsuzo Shimaoka, Len castle, rick rudd, Patricia Perrin, Harry and May Davis, Mirek Smisek and Barry Brickell.

Hamada Shoji three pieces from the collection of the nZ potter John Patrick

Contact: James Parkinson 09 3544 646 021 222 8184

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iMPortAnt MoDErn AnD contEMPorArY PHotoGrAPHS AuGuSt 2013 Entries invited

Anne Noble in the Presence of Angels, catalogue no. 47 vintage gelatin silver print, 1990 130 x 200mm $2000 – $4000

Contact: Ben Plumbly 09 354 4646 021 222 8183

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For sale The Brake House Titirangi

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VALuAtion SErVicES iMPortAnt coMMiSSion Art AnD oBJEct VALuES tHE Art coLLEction At tHE MuSEuM oF nEw ZEALAnD tE PAPA tonGArEwA Art+oBJEct’s valuation department is the most qualified and experienced in new Zealand and is called upon by museums and galleries throughout the country to value our most significant cultural assets. in 2012 Art+oBJEct was appointed to value the entire fine art holdings at the Museum of new Zealand te Papa tongarewa, the first time that this was undertaken externally. in 2012 A+o also valued collections for the Historic Palaces trust, the christchurch Art Gallery, the Akaroa Museum , the Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery and the napier Libraries. Art+oBJEct offers a comprehensive service covering complete collections through to individual items.

to discuss commissioning an Art+oBJEct valuation contact James Parkinson Director of Valuation and collections Management on 09 354 4646 or email

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HML Property Advert size: 240mm x 340mm with 5mm bleed

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12 O’Connell St, Auckland 1010. PO Box 91845, Victoria Street West, Auckland 1142. p: 353 7999 f: 353 7599 dx: CP21015

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Gavin Hipkins the Homely: Dunedin (Landscape) Lot 9

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Stout 6.5% Alc/vol



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colin Mccahon rosegarden iii (detail) Lot 31

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La Biennale di Venezia 55th International Art Exhibition Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà (La Pietà) Riva degli Schiavoni 1 June – 24 November 2013 Tuesday to Sunday, 10am–6pm

Project Leader

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Key Partner

Supporting Partner

IMAGE: Bill Culbert Voie Lactée (1990), Tournus, 1990. Enamelled jugs, fluorescent tubes, electrical cable. Collection FRAC Corse, Corsica

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Important Paintings and Contemporary Art including Five Paintings from the Estate of Gordon walters (1919–1995)



thursday 11 April 2013 at 6.30pm

Friday 5 April

3 Abbey Street newton, Auckland

Saturday 6 April

9.00am – 5.00pm

Sunday 7 April

11.00am – 4.00pm 11.00am – 4.00pm

Monday 8 April

9.00am – 5.00pm

tuesday 9 April

9.00am – 5.00pm

wednesday 10 April thursday 11 April

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9.00am – 5.00pm

9.00am – 1.00pm

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Richard Killeen Lot 1 3 cultures acrylic lacquer on aluminium, three parts title inscribed, signed and dated 1979 verso 1515 x 375mm: installation size variable $12 000 – $18 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.


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Pat Hanly Lot 2 Golden Age acrylic and enamel on board title inscribed, signed and dated ’80 285 x 342mm $28 000 – $38 000 Provenance Private collection, central otago.

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Allen Maddox

Lot 3

Lot 4

untitled oil on canvas signed with artist’s initials A. M and dated ’98 verso 1215 x 1215mm

Marilou Has Left oil on canvas, diptych title inscribed, signed and dated ’99 verso 915 x 1820mm: overall

$24 000 – $32 000

$30 000 – $40 000

Provenance Private collection, lower north island.

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Provenance Private collection, Hawkes Bay.

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Paul Dibble Lot 5 the Bushman’s Hop cast bronze, steel, hardwood and copper, 1991 (unique edition with an a/p) signed 2000 x 1600 x 650mm $45 000 – $65 000 Exhibited ‘Paul Dibble’, Gow Langsford Gallery, 1991. Provenance Private collection, lower north island.

A ‘Bushman’s Hop’ is an old new Zealand term for a dance or event, the local bun fight where rural people could get together for a night out. this sculpture is a whimsical narrative, not just of weekend festivities but it describes a face off – a tango where you sense a sort of seduction is taking place, part shadow-boxing with no actual violence but with a suggestion of menace. this is conservation meets environmentalist, the abstracted saw softshoeing against the generalised green-man (or woman) who is taking a small stick insect on her leg into battle. Elegant props act to hold the figures aloft. the parody is accentuated by Dibble’s use of semi-relief modelling where the forms seem to be swollen two dimensional shapes rather than three dimensional in-the-rounds. there are sparing examples of Dibble’s work from the early 90s of any great size and the Bushman’s Hop like most of these is a mixed media work.with lower budgets to buy the precious material of bronze, the artist has employed wood for plinths and stands as a device to lift the work into a full sized rendition. in this example the plank has been lined with copper sheet so the work is able to blend onto the base. the pillars are vaguely classical in form, with the platform spread across the two in the same rough way a hasty dining table might be constructed across two trestles. Here it has become a stage, the players leaping on to perform the dance.


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Andrew McLeod Lot 6 Kowhawhai Sun oil on canvas, 4 panels 1800 x 1000mm: each panel 1800 x 4000mm: overall $40 000 – $55 000 Provenance Private collection, wellington. Purchased by the current owner from ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, 2009.

Painted Histories published in 1994 is regarded as the definitive text on pre-European and early contact Maori painting. the author roger neich (1944–2010) lists nearly thirty individual kowhaiwhai designs. these rhythmic and geometric schemes traditionally decorate the rafter boards of Maori meeting houses. the wide variety of patterns vary by region and the place that individual designs sit within iwi belief systems. For example the koiri pattern is a metaphor for flourishing growth, the ngaru design represents the prow of a waka cutting through the waves and Patiki the movement of the flounder. Some of the designs are descriptive and others such as the Kaperua pattern are symbolic in this case of the action of things being doubled or dividing. As much as they are dazzlingly decorative kowhaiwhai carry associated meaning for the informed observer. when observed by a Pakeha, or non-Maori one can be sure that the kowhaiwhai appeals as an essential Maori form which freed from its descriptive or symbolic role and most importantly its position within the narrative of an individual meeting house is able to be interpreted in aesthetic and ethnographic terms. Such a reading is entirely valid. Kowhaiwhai are beautiful, complex visual signposts in the new Zealand experience.


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numerous 19th century historians and observers including colenso were fascinated by kowhaiwhai and there is every reason to believe that intense study by Pakeha only served to render them more extraordinary as more variants were documented. the first artist to really come at the kowhaiwhai from an artistic perspective was the Dutch immigrant polymath theo Schoon (1915-1985) whose position as one of the seminal figures in new Zealand art of the 20th century is supported by a prolific body of work including painting, photography, carving and ceramics. At the heart of his practice were explorations of kowhaiwhai patterns and these works from the 1950s and 60s are now held in new Zealand’s public gallery collections, but at the time initiated a discourse which reached its modernist highpoint in Gordon walters koru canvases. McLeod has explored from this cross-cultural lexicon in works that repropose Schoon’s kowhaiwhai designs as environments for the various scenes, characters or tableau he enacts. Schoon is always there in the background as it were. there are even Andrew McLeod designed rugs inspired by theo Schoon’s kowhaiwhai designs installed at Government House in wellington. Since the late 1990s McLeod has exhibited a magpie tendency both in his digital works which rework the idea of the architectural plan as a kind of hieroglyphic and large scale paintings into

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which are poured arcane art historical references – think Arnold Bocklin, Henry Fuseli and Edward Burne-Jones to name but a few hardly hip quotations – and densely personal confessionals. in McLeod’s hands all these elements from the most outré of romantic bodice rippers to the most banal of clip-art era ding bats to playful ruminations on walters and Schoon are posited as the signposts in a free-wheeling declaration of artistic independence. Kowhaiwhai Sun crystallizes the kowhaiwhai through a psychedelic prism so that the rich, glistening surface drips with salmon, olive, teal, taramasalata and raspberry hues. over this pungent schema here flutters a moth and there floats a block or a tube. Along the lower margin what appears to be some type of haunted forest grows under a ‘night’ sky. As our eye becomes accustomed to this dusk we can pick out a caterpillar, vegetation and all sorts of delightful nonsense. the effect is at once jazzy, nocturnal and ‘sun’ lit. Linking this strange brew is the kowhaiwhai pattern and with this device McLeod is acknowledging and revelling in the same fascination felt by walters and Schoon for this most captivating of Maori forms. Hamish coney

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Ralph Hotere Lot 7 Drawing for a Black window acrylic and oil pastel on recycled paper title inscribed, signed and dated Port chalmers ’81 513 x 420mm $20 000 – $30 000

40 A+o

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Michael Parekowhai Lot 8 Ypres from the consolation of Philosophy – Piko nei te matenga type c print, edition of 8 (2001) 1500 x 1200mm $12 000 – $16 000 Provenance Private collection, wellington.

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Gavin Hipkins Lot 9 the Homely: Dunedin (Landscape); rotorua (Gateway); Sydney (Flower); christchurch (corridor); wellington (Museum); christchurch (Museum); christchurch (icicles); Huka (Falls); te wairoa (Falls); wellington (Path) an exhibition set of ten type c prints, artist’s proofs from an edition of 8 (1998 – 1999) title inscribed, signed and dated verso 600 x 400mm: each print 600 x 4000mm: overall $15 000 – $20 000

Exhibited (this particular set) ‘Picturing Eden’, George Eastman House: international Museum of Photography and Film, new York, January 28 – June 18, 2006. Exhibition toured to the ringling Museum of Art, Florida; San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, california; Johnson Museum of Art, cornell university, new York, uSA (2007-2010). Literature Deborah Klochcko, The Myth of Eden (Steidhl Publishers, Germany, 2006), pp. 9-11. Zara Stanhope, ‘Lens Envy: recent Photographic work by Gavin Hipkins’, Eyeline: Contemporary Visual Arts, no. 47, Summer 2001-02, pp. 31 – 35. Blair French, ‘Gavin Hipkins and international Photo-art’, The Homely. (city Gallery, wellington, 2001), pp. 38 – 43. christine Frisinghelli, ‘Gavin Hipkins’, Blink (Phaidon Books, London, 2001), pp. 124 – 127. cornelia cornelia, ‘wilderness’, Flight Patterns (Museum of contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2000), pp. 66 – 67. Provenance Purchased from Hamish McKay Gallery, wellington.


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Fiona Pardington Lot 10 Janita type c print 1190 x 1190mm $7000 – $12 000 Illustrated Kyla McFarlane, One Night of Love: Fiona Pardington (waikato Museum of Art and History catalogue, 2001), p. 6. Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

Yvonne Todd Lot 11 Pupators lightjet print, edition of 3 860 x 1500mm $8000 – $12 000 Exhibited ‘Mixed up childhood’, Auckland Art Gallery toi o tāmaki, February 24 – 22 May, 2005. Provenance Private collection, wellington.

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The following six works are from the collection of Barbara and Sam Pillsbury. Sam Pillsbury is a renowned film director and producer who directed, among other things, the 1974 film, Hotere.

Nigel Brown Lot 12 table Series Xiii oil on board signed and dated ’75; title inscribed signed and dated titirangi, Auck ’75 verso 650 x 496mm $7000 – $10 000

Allen Maddox Lot 13 untitled – Grid watercolour, acrylic and oil on paper signed with artist’s initials A. M and and dated 11. 84 1200 x 800mm $10 000 – $16 000


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Jeffrey Harris Lot 14 three women oil on canvas signed and dated Dec 1974 and inscribed crate 1977 verso 550 x 768mm $10 000 – $16 000

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Colin McCahon Lot 15 necessary Protection synthetic polymer paint on paper signed and dated oct ’71 457 x 610mm $30 000 – $40 000


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Tony Fomison Lot 16 Goodbye (too many deaths in one year) oil on hessian on board title inscribed, signed and dated 1984 verso; original Denis cohn Gallery label affixed verso; original Fomison: what shall we tell them? exhibition label affixed verso 300 x 570mm $45 000 – $65 000 Illustrated ian wedde (ed), Fomison: What shall we tell them? (city Gallery, wellington, 1994), p. 134. Reference ibid., cat no. 86., p. 159.

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Locating an artist’s source material can be something of an art sleuthing job. Some artists are pretty good at covering their tracks, but Dick Frizzell has always been an open book in this sense. Many of his best works are but one degree removed from their original reference point. Frizzell’s Phantom canvases are an obvious case in point as are the mackerel tin works of the 1970s. Frizzell has for some thirty years been new Zealand’s painter laureate of the roadside vegie sign. Frizzell’s lexicon is a variant of a pop culture wYSiwYG. His cataloguing of K1w1ness has taken in everything from the 4 Square man, the boy from the often Licked never Beaten ads and cubist tikis. Plenty of Frizzell’s inspiration can be seen on a drive to his stamping ground in the Hawke’s Bay. rural signage, the rusting livery of defunct automotive brands and the landscape itself all get airtime as Frizzell has charted the new Zealand experience in the form of a painted road trip. Escape from Salvation however comes from a period of self-confessed doubt. Frizzell has described the early 1980s as one of crisis in the wider art world, “Modernism was the ocean and the artists were the fish. And when the ocean dried up the artists were left gasping on the shore.” Frizzell goes on to chart the emergence of post-modernism as being both a challenge and a release for painters who had felt under siege from ascendant conceptual and performance based work in the 1970s. Frizzell’s response was to go big and the 1983 exhibition Escape From Salvation at rKS Art gallery was the result. Escape from Salvation dates from this period and is one of a number of large scale paintings and murals which derive from classical imagery – or do they? we are presented with Jacob wrestling the Angel, a scene from one of the most ancient biblical texts in the Book of Genesis in which Jacob or israel is quite literally wrestling with or for his faith. Entirely appropriate given Frizzell’s state of mind in the early 1980s. the image however is a direct lift from the earliest incarnation of the X-Men and the pen of legendary silver age (1956 – 1970) comic artist Jack Kirby. the Angel was one of the foundation characters from the X-Men and would have been required reading for Frizzell in the early 1960s. the text on the top right hand corner is a direct lift from the original comic and alludes to the Angel’s magical powers or lack thereof. Frizzell’s paint handling is vigorous, confident and punchy as befits both the subject and the artist’s mood. He is quite literally fighting his corner. Hamish coney

Dick Frizzell Lot 17 Escape from Salvation enamel on board title inscribed, signed and dated 1/2/83 and inscribed Your only power is in your wings and they can’t do you any good against a break-proof wrestling hold!; inscribed your only power is in your wind etc., Dick Frizzell, 10 Poronui St, Mt Eden, Auckland verso 1525 x 1525mm $40 000 – $60 000 Literature Dick Frizzell, Dick Frizzell – The Painter (Auckland, 2009), pp. 134 – 135. Illustrated ibid., p. 134. Don Binney, ‘testing reality: the Paintings of Dick Frizzell’, Art New Zealand, no. 37, Summer, 1985, p. 29. (incorrectly titled as Jacob and the Angel)


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Bill Hammond Lot 18 untitled acrylic and metallic paint on two panel wooden screen signed and dated 2003 1680 x 1750 x 280mm: overall $150 000 – $200 000 Exhibited ‘Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning’, christchurch Art Gallery te Puna o waiwhetu, 20 July – 22 october, 2007 and city Gallery, wellington te whare toi, 16 november – 2007 – 10 February, 2008. Illustrated Jennifer Hay et al., Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning (christchurch, 2007), p. 169. Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

in this untitled work, the distinctive inhabitants of Bill Hammond’s watery world have taken up occupation on a stylishly curved twopanel screen – an unusual matrix for his painting (although seeing this example may make admirers wish that he used it more often). the two panels provide appropriately elongated formats for his perpendicular anthropomorphic forms: a tall equine figure appears to punt between water-plants on the left panel, while an upright avian personage makes its way over a grassy knoll on the right, seemingly engaged in some collecting expedition (harking back to Buller’s excursions?), with a smaller bird-like creature in its grasp. Perhaps it was the notion of a painted screen being ‘applied art’ that encouraged Hammond to use decorative repetition as part of his composition more formally here than he might usually do, particularly in the quirky right-angled shape of the captured bird, a recurrent motif that creates a lyrical diagonal across the right panel, and takes up a tectonic place on larger scale in the upper corner. He has also reduced his palette to a harmonious understatement of pale creams and ochres against a near-black ground, which acknowledges the planar surface of the screen. Yet the painterliness of the surface counters any sense of regularised design, as thin paint, so fluidly applied that it pools and trickles on the lower frame, unifies the forms and suggests an enveloping, moisture-laden atmosphere. the screen is reminiscent of the elegant eclecticism of regency furniture, drawing as it did on a growing awareness in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries of cultures beyond Europe, such as Egypt and the East, which provided a wealth of exotic ornamental tropes. Hammond’s anthropomorphic figures owe a debt to Egyptian and Assyrian art that portrayed the power of deities by uniting human and animal forms. the dark background of his panels and the application of light, almost gilded figures recalls the technique of Japanning with its lustrous lacquered black ground and decorative imagery, often applied to regency items, while the subtly painted setting evokes the delicacy of chinese landscapes, which were indeed inscribed on screens not unlike this one. But simply to list sources like these that seem to inform Bill Hammond’s art is to miss the point. concepts may be drawn from other times and places, but they fuse seamlessly, forming an evocative visual language to portray the unique world of Hammond’s imagination. Elizabeth rankin

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Gordon Walters Lot 19 tautahi PVA and acrylic on canvas signed and dated ’71 and inscribed ‘Hautana Tuki Waka’ (the inscription possibly in another’s hand) verso; inscribed Cat No. 53 on original ‘Gordon walters’ Auckland Art Gallery exhibition label affixed verso 1520 x 1142mm $400 000 – $600 000 Provenance From the collection of tim and Helen Beaglehole, wellington. Purchased from Peter McLeavey Gallery, wellington in 1971 together with Kahukura (1968), which tim Beaglehole acquired for the Victoria university collection in his collections role for the university, a role he fulfilled for over thirty years upon taking over from Douglas Lilburn in 1964. Exhibited ‘Gordon walters’, Peter McLeavey Gallery, wellington, 1971. ‘Behind closed Doors’, Adam Art Gallery te Pataka toi, wellington, 4 June – 18 December, 2011. Illustrated Michael Dunn, Gordon Walters (Auckland Art Gallery, 1983), pl. 53. Lara Strongman and neil Pardington, Behind Closed Doors (Victoria university of wellington, 2011), p. 10. Literature ibid., p. 16.

Gordon walters’ greatness has snuck up on us, in plain sight, for more than half a century. Most masters of modernism look a tad dated now. not walters who is sheerly fresh. Still sailing the walls, walters’ koru paintings impart a conviction of strength in simplicity. there is something mysteriously archaic and supremely modern about walters’ work with its ambivalent play of the figure-ground distinction and his emulation of the flattened work of kowhaiwhai painters. the effect, i want to suggest, is anthropological rather than psychological: walters is reaching for (not appropriating) forms, akin to those revered in Maori culture, that are simultaneously spiritual and earthy, and to attain this he is drawing upon colours like ochre, derived from tinted clay and one of the earliest pigments used by mankind, and also the predominant colouring agent used by Maori. the title of tautahi (1971) refers to the legendary settler of Banks Peninsula, te Potiki tautahi, who gave his name to otautahi (christchurch). not that walters’ best work needs much help from contextual association. its strength lies in its combination of perceptual subtlety and sensuous immediacy: a delicacy of vision that is achieved through careful chromatic and structural shifts. All of which has made walters such an awkward fit in the canon of new Zealand modernism but which now makes him shine as our pre-eminent artist. the exceptionally beautiful stacked korus of tautahi set in horizontal and vertical combinations presuppose freedom rather than order. At the one end of the spectrum, critics nervous of pure shape and untextured brushwork have tried to square walters’ singular approach with categories of art convenience – he is ‘like Mondrian’, a ‘high formalist’, ‘hard-edged’ – but none of these really suit walters’ case. At the other end, are those who dismiss his insistent two-dimensionality as mere patterning, wallpaper for art gallery walls. while Mondrian’s work seems to sit contemplatively within the harmonious austerity of his apartment, walters’ is very much on the marae, celebrating a satisfaction with the surfaces and signs of the material cultural world. in the late sixties and early seventies, walters intensified the process by which his koru sources in kowhaiwhai patterns were rendered down into elemental forms. Sometimes the tense contrast between two or three strong colours constitutes the drama of the composition, and sometimes it is the optical flip-flop between alternating black and white forms, which have been punched flat like the shapes on a banner or pennant. whatever the choice — and there are both in tautahi — what is surprising is the degree to which an apparently elementary juxtaposition of shapes can open up an entire shifting universe of tension, relaxation, conflict and harmony, so that the economy of the painterly means is out of all proportion with the magnitude of the sublime effect. Anyone in doubt should stand in front of tautahi and sense how the black and white korus rise to meet their ochre cousins. while the left-hand vertical alignment of white bulb shapes drives us upwards we sense how the interrupted black counterparts on the right-hand side seem to be both restraining and yielding to the inexorable ascent. this is no cheap deceit but is pure magic – the kind of wordless revelation that only the most assured abstraction can deliver, and it is light-years away from the designdriven formalism of which walters has so often been unobservantly accused. Laurence Simmons


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Five Paintings from the Estate of Gordon Walters (1919–1995)

Lot 20 untitled (1975) acrylic on canvas signed and dated 1975 (twice) verso 460 x 460mm $35 000 – $55 000

Lot 21 untitled – interlocking Forms (1994) acrylic on canvas 510 x 409mm $30 000 – $40 000 Exhibited ‘Gordon walters: Prints + Design’, Adam Art Gallery te Pataka toi, wellington, 7 August – 10 october 2004.

Most viewers connect Gordon walters name with only one type of his painting, the koru motif works — drawn from a number of modes of traditional Maori artistic practice; moko (tattooing), heke (rafter) painting, and hue (gourd) and hoe (paddle) decoration — on which his popular reputation would seem to rest. But, as Francis Pound has pointed out, the geometricised koru paintings represent less than half of walters’ abstract work and, to boot, they constantly destroy themselves in their perpetual dissolution of figure into ground. From this perpetual self-destruction come many other series which walters worked upon during a long and productive career: en abyme (abyss) paintings in which the painting contains a mirror image of itself, or the transparencies in which a solid form is layered with a coloured repetition of itself and so self-dissolves, or the interlocking geometric forms that seem to fight against each other for pictorial dominance. As well as this multiplicity in consistency, something else connects the five paintings in this superb offering: they all share a colour that was to become predominant in walters’ palette: shades of grey — from the lightest tints of dove grey in untitled (1982) to the dense blue grey of untitled – composition with Stripes and circles. Generally considered the least lively and the most bleak of repertoires, grey is the taint of vagueness and uncertainty. it belongs to an evasive and evanescent world, carrying the tint of smoke, fog, ashes and dust. Fortuitously, for walters, grey signals the ambiguous space where things blend and blur, it measures the difference between distance and proximity, shading into tinges of hues of hesitation, tones of time past and lost. not that walters’ work needs much help from ‘grey areas’. its strength has always been its winning combination of perceptual subtlety and sensuous immediacy. A philosophical delicacy of vision pumped into raw chromatic heft. Although the progress from his early surrealist-influenced landscapes, through the development of the koru, to his late-career transparency paintings may seem an itinerary of sharp bends and swerves, walters’ career in fact followed remarkably consistent principles. All of his work begins from and repeats what he declared in an interview was “the one picture i am painting all the time”. if anything can persuade us as viewers to give walters the rapt attention his art deserves, and disclose the revelations and pleasures of the play of walters’ thoughtfulness, this small grouping of his paintings will.

Illustrated william McAloon, Gordon Walters: Prints + Design (wellington, 2004), p. 36.

Lot 22 untitled – transparency Painting (1990) acrylic on canvas signed and dated 1990 (twice) verso 510 x 405mm $35 000 – $45 000

Lot 23 untitled – composition with Stripes and circles acrylic on canvas 1210 x 900mm $90 000 – $140 000

Lot 24 untitled (1982) acrylic on canvas signed and dated ’82 verso 915 x 738mm $55 000 – $75 000

Laurence Simmons


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For most viewers walters’ untitled (1975) works as a slow surprise; at first our eyes race over the painstakingly painted diagonally striped squares of sky blue and delicate greys searching for possible relations, and then at some point, unexpectedly, the image refocuses and we begin to see larger squares, and even diamonds, of combinations of four of the smaller elements. these, in turn, begin to dizzingly shift within their own myriad combinations. there is not a trace of monotony here in the repetitions of untitled (1975). the small segments are arranged in perfect equipoise with each other, so that, if for a moment they share the unity of a single pattern, they quickly dissolve into elastic animation. we enter an

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endless game of transformation that through repetition preserves rather than destroys difference. this is not a mere parlour trick, and though walters is a skilled manipulator of optical values, there is no cheap deceit about his practice. the ingenuity with which his colour stripes are brought together to give the impression of delicate movement – a slide or shift – belongs to his ambition, as he declared, to “control things with [his] feeling”. once we peer closer, in an effort to confirm one of the many polar options our eyes have offered, we enter a world of metaphysical doubt, a world of feints and distractions, demanding a perseverance. it would be easy to read untitled (1975) according to rosalind Krauss’s well-known

argument that the grid is a sign of modernity, which declares art to be a flattened, geometricised, ordered, unreal object that refuses nature. But walters’ adoption of Melanesian grid patterns in this and other works like taniko (1977), along with richard Killeen’s companion series of grids based on Pacific patterns of the mid1970s, introduces a social-historical frame that Krauss would ignore. Anchored to questions of local reference, yet contrapuntal, rhythmic, cumulatively spellbinding, untitled (1975) preserves a relation with its natural origin without simply describing it. Laurence Simmons

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in the 1970s and 80s walters intensified the process by which his sources were rendered down into elemental forms. Sometimes this became an intense drama between two strong shapes that constituted the excitement of the composition. See, for example, Painting J (1974) in the te Papa collection, in which a letter ‘J’ practices karate with itself. And sometimes it is the combative relation between a single colour and the white ground so that a shape can be made to appear to slip off into indeterminate space. walters reveled in the mischief of shapes that can be made to jump

out of their skins and perform in unexpected ways. untitledinterlocking Forms bristles with the nervous tingle of this moment. Many of the tensions and motions in a walters’ painting have a directly sensual impact. indeed, it may seem odd to think of walters as a sensualist, voluptuous even, but purity and sensuousness undergird his work. Geometry and eroticism hardly seem like perfect companions. But even if there is little talk of sexuality in abstract art — unless it is an explicit form or subject — in terms of process, emotion and expression walters’


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pictorial equilibration make his art a form of redemptive seduction. He works hard to solicit sensory investment. in untitled-interlocking Forms the bifurcated erotics of separation, conjoining, mirroring provides a thematics of mutuality. As with tantric diagrams you see exactly what the work is, even as with patient looking, you may undergo a gradual and then sudden soft detonation of beauty. Laurence Simmons


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As always, in his transparency works walters celebrates, like no other new Zealand painter, the limited virtues of acrylic paint: opacity and fluidity. walters learned how a block of colour that is laid under or over a ground of another colour may take on qualities of being a discrete shape while registering direction and velocity across the compositional surface. that is, in untitled-transparency Painting (1990) you don’t read walters’ line between white rectangle and black stripe as a graphic contour but as an actor in a pictorial field. it anticipates all the eye’s ways of

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seeing. Edge and shape, figure and ground, matter and atmosphere are reversible, bringing about, for me, a sense of oscillation in the optic nerve. what we have here is not a perceptual flicker as in op art, but a conceptual jam of sheer undecidability. of course, applying paint is itself is a form of layering, particularly the way in which walters came to use PVc acrylic: brushstroking it onto gessoed canvas, then painstakingly sanding it back to apply yet another layer, and thus build up an opacity through material density. transparency thus becomes a self-reflexive metaphor

for the very act of painting and is inflected by the fabric of the material canvas support. Accordingly, walters’ transparency paintings knowingly play with the Greenbergian insistence on the flatness of modernist painting. they understand it can never be an absolute flatness. For the application of paint to canvas destroys any literal and utter flatness. it perforce opens up an illusory space that is optical. Laurence Simmons

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it seems that at the very moment that walters achieved the basic form of his Koru paintings (1959), he fell into a state of uncertainty about them. Apparently, he had come to wonder if it might be possible to continue with the Koru painting format, keeping in play all he had invented over the years of his work towards it, but without any reference to the koru. could this be done without aesthetic loss? without intensity bleeding away? in 1959, just when his geometrised koru was first achieved, in the form of finalised paintings in ink on gesso on board, walters began a series of black and white positive/negative studies in which the motif is a horizontal bar without any koru bulb and without any circles. these studies, made in quite considerable numbers between 1959 and 1962. Let me call these works the ‘Koru Alternatives’. circle and bar — these are same forms we have seen put under such pressure in the Koru Series. But here, as if their author had become impatient with an order so slowly and painfully achieved, the tightly locked forms of the Koru works are permitted to break free, to scatter and disperse. High order is sacrificed to exuberance. And though here, too, as in the Koru Series, there is a counter-charging of positive and negative, it tends to be looser, more intermittent, more partial than in the Koru works. this is what roland Barthes calls ‘the dispersion of the tableau, the pulling to pieces of the “composition,” the setting in movement of [its] partial organs . . .’ walters’ circles now seem to go where they will; and his bars sometimes rotate from the horizontal to the vertical or diagonal. the diagonalising of some of the bars, the spilling of the circles from the confines of koru and bar, their pouring across the surface at large: after the immense tensions of the Koru paintings, all this represents a kind of letting go. we might relate this ‘letting go,’ this ‘pulling to pieces,’ to the use of collage as a preparatory stage for the Koru paintings. As John richardson remarks of the effect of Picasso’s collage on his works as a whole: ‘when art becomes a matter of cutting, positioning, and pinning independent elements . . . the potential is always for fixed relationships to become undone.’ it is of the very essence of collage to promote free play in the disposition and disbursement of forms. And that, i think, is what has happened here: the compositional order of the Koru works, so patiently, so agonizingly achieved, is now undone, and collage is, as it were, responsible the grey rectangles in untitled – composition with Stripes and circles have remarkably scissored-looking edges, as if frankly to acknowledge the truth of their paper collage origin. walters seems to imitate with his brush the effect of a free-hand scissors cut of a straight line. indeed the painting shows a paper collage aesthetic throughout. nothing could more readily lend themselves to paper collage than its simple, flattened planes. the Bar and Ball works may pose an interplay between figure and ground in parts of their surfaces, but they always come back in the end to admitting the presence of an underlying and continuous ground. this, of course, makes the Bar and Ball work very differently from a Koru work, since in the latter we cannot distinguish between figure and ground, since the two exist only in a state of constant interchange. Francis Pound


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untitled (1982), which looks spectacular when seen from the appropriate distance, asks to be read vertically, either as three black lines riding alongside each other, or two opposing blocks of colour, green and light grey. However, these alternative visions can never be simultaneously available, they leave the hypnotized gaze to bounce glassily between the one and the other, and in so doing capture a visual rhythm that pulses. As well, the tripartite bands of

black need to be read sequentially (like a segment of a giant bar code); they gather speed and head out of the top and bottom of the frame. walters used the vertical format elsewhere, for example in untitled (vertical bars) (1978) or the screenprint then (1980). But here his painting’s verticality is based on a principle of internal levitation that is constantly emerging. nevertheless, the composition of untitled (1982) does not ‘escape’ and fall apart for it is held together

and ‘hinged’ by the white slither of the ground at its very centreline, so that the painting seems to be opening itself on either side into an imagined space to be looked for. it is through this simultaneous verticality and its horizontal opening that untitled 1982 also holds its viewer to the point that it is hard to turn our gaze away. Laurence Simmons

60 A+o

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Pat Hanly Lot 25 Brown torso enamel and acrylic on board signed and dated’78; title inscribed, signed and dated 1978 verso; original HAnLY label affixed verso 477 x 432mm $55 000 – $75 000 Provenance Private collection, Hawkes Bay.

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Paul Dibble Lot 26 the tuna’s Song cast bronze on turned wooden plinth, a/p (1993) signed 650 x 445 x 340mm: excluding stand 1270 x 445 x 340mm: including stand $25 000 – $35 000 Illustrated Jeanette cook (ed), Paul Dibble (Auckland, 2006), p. 80. Literature ibid. Provenance Private collection, central north island.


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Terry Stringer Lot 27 Self Portrait chair oil on aluminium and wood signed and dated ’82; title inscribed and inscribed with artist’s hanging instructions verso 1400 x 595 x 180mm Provenance Private collection, Auckland. $11 000 – $16 000

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Ralph Hotere

Lot 28 untitled Xii burnished and blow-torched steel, leadhead nails and acrylic on board signed and dated Port chalmers 1999; title inscribed, signed and dated verso 700 x 700mm $65 000 – $85 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.


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Lot 29 ruia, ruia, tahia, tahia lacquer and acrylic on board title inscribed 535 x 400mm $30 000 – $40 000 Provenance Private collection, lower north island.

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A large painting, with subtle allusions to sky, landscape and the body via its coloured bands – as well as referencing phantom modernist grids – thornley’s atmospheric hybrid reveals its structure slowly. Very thin rollered washes of paint have been applied to heavy canvas and masked off at its rectangular borders, with no supplementary external frame, only tiny bleeds that show the paint slowly building towards the centre. A three inch Prussian blue strip at the top and a four inch magenta band at the bottom set up the organisation for stacked up, milky ‘grey’ blendings of chroma in the centre. the two thicknesses start to alternate near the horizontal edges, each on its internal border referencing its opposite with wispy veils of straight-edged hue, while in vertical opposition ten ghostly columns (with edges that look rubbed out) traverse the picture-plane, decreasing in width towards the centre. within this delicate but persistently marching mist we see a faint matrix – even though the linear components hover in opposed spatial separation, never locking together at intersections. the horizontal ‘bluest’ bands near the top are sometimes discontinuous, as if damaged by fault lines and dropping – like jostled escarpments. the bottom magenta layering is more stable and regular. Despite the barely detectable geometry underpinning this discreetly complex painting one is struck by the softness of naming the Site #3 ‘s dominant pinkish grey – a floating skin-coloured fog that plays down the varied contributions of its mingled hues – that almost wraps itself around the supporting stretcher. Scientifically logical but not remotely clinical, this field of nuanced, emotional, contained stains and shimmering poles you could almost walk into, a watery curtain of caucasian epidermis, between the two pressuring bars above and below. John Hurrell

Geoff Thornley Lot 30 naming the Site no. 3 oil on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated ’98 verso; original Vavasour Godkin Gallery label affixed verso 2200 x 2000mm $25 000 – $35 000 Literature t.J Mcnamara, ‘Lasting impression’, NZ Herald, May 1999. Peter Simpson, ‘thornley: Art and Mystery’, NZ Herald, May 15, 1999. Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

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Milan Mrkusich

is Milan Mrkusich a minimalist or an expressionist? At first sight the question might seem perverse. the turmoil unleashed in Mrkusich’s Painting red (1976), awash with carroty crimson, surely proclaims him to be the painter of misrule. the mood evoked by Painting red is after all the opposite of a controlled serenity of, say, a Gordon walters. where walters’ compositions are exercises in poise, Mrkusich’s overflow with extravagant gestures and a certain painterly bravura. where the colours of walters are uniform, luminous and calibrated, Mrkusich’s are rich and atmospheric, here as livid and fruju as a dripping iceblock. to gaze into Mrkusich’s swirling surface is to witness something like an invasion that swallows up your bearings. But nevertheless, Painting red’s unruly realm of stains is anchored to its flat field by its ‘corners’, triangles of flat, dulled and uniform brown at each angle of the composition edge. As Peter Leech has noted, this ‘armature’ pulls “the paintings this way and that, bending and wrenching at the deeper chromatic world behind the flatness and creating an incoherent architecture of painted surface”. we are left with an arrangement held together but in imminent danger of dissolution. All of which might suggest that Mrkusich’s intentions were more ambiguous than walters? occasionally, information about the life of the artist does help to make these enigmas less perplexing. Mrkusich was born above a fish and chip shop in Dargaville and moved to Auckland in 1927 when he was two. of Dalmatian descent his parents came to new Zealand from Podgora after world war 1. Does Mrkusich’s painted surface embrace the simultaneous operation of two apparently divergent value systems, a double-sided modus vivendi that marks the condition of Dalmatian immigrants in new Zealand? the one side embraced Epicureanism in the nobility and enjoyment of food, wine, life and family; these were the tarara, Dalmatian ‘fast talkers’ who integrated so well into Maori society. the other exemplifies austerity, piety, the vanity of the restrained, industrious work ethic of the gumfields; the sobriety of the successful immigrant intent on carving out a niche in the new world. But rather than these opposing norms guaranteeing a permanent condition of schizophrenia for Dalmatians they came eventually to function together within a single overarching community. to stand in front of Painting Red is to experience this ambivalence. Mrkusich is both a minimalist and an expressionist.

Lot 31 Painting red 1976 acrylic on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated ’76 verso 1800 x 1730mm $65 000 – $85 000 Provenance Private collection, wellington. Private collection, Auckland.

Laurence Simmons


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Colin McCahon Lot 32 rosegarden iii synthetic polymer paint on jute title inscribed, signed with artist’s initials C. McC and dated ’74 940 x 400mm $120 000 – $160 000 Provenance Private collection, South island. Purchased by the current owner from Peter McLeavey Gallery, wellington in 1975. Reference colin Mccahon Database ( cM001277

the early 1970s must have been a particularly challenging time for collectors and followers of the work of colin Mccahon. with every new body of work and subsequent exhibition, it would seem, the paintings got progressively tougher, more raw and less yielding. Even when armed with the benefit of considerable hindsight and discussion, bodies of work such as the ‘comet’ and ‘Blind’ series, both of which were painted in the same year as rosegarden iii (1974), still appear uncompromising today, appearing to ask so much whilst seemingly proffering so little. the period also represented a time of great loss for Mccahon as he witnessed the passing of poets r.A.K Mason in 1971 and J. K Baxter in 1972. the following year Mccahon lost his close friend and patron charles Brasch along with his mother, Ethel. in the context of such dark days for the artist a ray of light appears to shine through in the small but beautifully formed rosegarden series, made up of six works all vertical in format and conceived on raw jute. the artist worked in no particular given order in relation to the works he produced throughout 1974, so the obvious visual connection that exists between all his paintings of this time is commensurate with the artist’s then studio methodology. All Mccahon’s paintings from the period are definitively of and about the wild west coast and this was clearly where he sought refuge from the profound sense of loss which he must have felt. in 1968 Mccahon erected a studio on his wife’s property at Muriwai and the connection he felt with the beach and its strong association to Maoridom and the traditional Maori spirit path te rerenga wairua – the jumpingoff point for departing souls – plays out through all of his works of this period. rosegarden iii must be among the freshest works the artist ever painted. one tends to read the composition from top to bottom, the viewing process punctuated by the strong horizontal divisions which mark the sky, the liminal zone where the sea and sky become one, and the foreshore where the waves dance in the sun and lap upon Muriwai’s iron-enriched sands. Gordon Brown, the artist’s friend and biographer, locates the formal inspiration for the series in an evening stroll he took with the artist some years previous along the vibrant and diverse streets of Grey Lynn. Stopping to peer into the house of a Polynesian family he recounts how struck Mccahon was with a shrine on the lounge wall festooned with family photographs and draped in rosary beads. it is the formal device of the downward semi-circular loop of rosary beads which defines this painting and the series as a whole. However, it is the richness and warmth of the palette with its luminescent pink and daisy yellow so redolent of a Muriwai sunset which mark it as a paean to Auckland’s wild and wonderful west coast and, more especially, to the artist’s beloved spiritual home of Muriwai. Ben Plumbly


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the year 1976 was one of the last prolific years for colin Mccahon as a painter. Several significant series belong to that year, including two sets of noughts and crosses and rocks in the Sky, several smaller series such as on the road and Scared, and some important one-off pieces, such as Kokowai, and Mondrian’s Last chrysanthemum – altogether more than 50 works are listed on the Mccahon Database for 1976.

Colin McCahon Lot 33 noughts and crosses, Series ii, no. V synthetic polymer paint on Steinbach paper mounted to hardboard title inscribed, signed with artist’s initials C. McC and dated ’76 1095 x 730mm $230 000 – $300 000 Exhibited ‘Colin McCahon: Paintings—Noughts and Crosses, Rocks in the Sky, On the Road’, Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland, 23 August – 3 September 1976, cat. no. 2. ‘colin Mccahon: A Question of Faith’, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the netherlands, 30 August – 10 november, 2002 (touring Australasia 2002 – 2004). Illustrated Marja Bloem and Martin Browne, Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith (nelson, 2002), p. 135. Reference colin Mccahon Database ( cM001522 Provenance collection of Kim wright, Auckland. Private collection, Auckland. Private collection, Australia.

During this decade a pervasive motif in Mccahon’s painting was the numbers 1-14, a preoccupation related to the roman catholic ritual of the Stations of the cross, each depicted station representing a stage in christ’s last journey towards crucifixion. By the mid-1970s Mccahon seldom alluded to the Stations explicitly (as he had earlier), but their presence was signified by the sequence of numerals 1 to 14 (or sometimes i to XiV), either transcribed directly onto individual works, as in the Shining cuckoo (1974), teaching Aids (1975), and rocks in the Sky (1976), or by the limitation of works in a series to 14, as in Jet out (1973) and Angels and Bed (1976-77). in noughts and crosses, which conforms to the latter pattern, there are two series, each of seven works, making fourteen in total, an arrangement also adopted in rocks in the Sky. this numerological element points, of course, to underlying issues of faith, doubt, and choice, which inform all Mccahon’s paintings of this period. in noughts and crosses spiritual and existential matters are explored through the medium of a familiar children’s game (also known as tic-tac-toe) usually played with pencil and paper. According to Gordon Brown, Mccahon got the idea of using the grid and the letters X and o as a basis for paintings from watching a grandchild play the game. the appeal to Mccahon is that those letters are amenable to symbolic elaboration. the two series vary considerably in approach, though both are painted in synthetic polymer paints (acrylics) on sheets of Steinbach paper, a whole stack of which had been acquired for Mccahon by his wellington dealer, Peter McLeavey. in the first series, the games are painted black on white, like marks on a slate or blackboard. there are two games on each sheet, one above the other. in all but one instance the crosses ‘win’ (that is by completing a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row of three). the religious implications are underlined by sometimes replacing ‘X’ with the letter ‘t’; that is, one form of cross – a symbol of negation (X) – is replaced by another – a symbol of faith (t), implying the victory of faith over doubt or nihilism (signified by ‘o’). in the second series, of which the present vibrant work – one of the most outstanding of the whole set – is the fifth (V), there is just one game per sheet, and many other variations of colour and form are introduced. Figure and ground are reversed, the grid and letters now being black on white (or often – as here – on yellow/gold). the conventional grid is modified by introducing gaps in the horizontal lines, which changes the grid into a series of christian crosses. Furthermore, in these games nobody ‘wins’ by successfully completing a row of three. in other words, the outcome is dubious, uncertain, a stalemate. Similarly, the background colour is not uniform (as in the first series) but varies in this instance from blazing yellow/gold to total black (as in the bottom left corner). Significantly in the two squares containing Xs the yellow is muddied (though not in the bottom right corner where the cross takes the form of the christian symbol). through these (and other) changes a childish game is brilliantly transformed into a dynamically meaningful painting – a spirited contest between life and death, light and dark, faith and doubt, to the implications of which viewers will doubtless respond differently according to their own predilections. Peter Simpson


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Peter Robinson’s painting is skeptical, scheming. The canvas is a patchwork of slogans and advertising imperatives. It is physically domineering in scale, the size of a billboard. Robinson’s subject is the cacophony of commerce, the din of marketing. Politics and war are placed in the frame, alongside allusions to the commercial status of art, its export value. His painting is ‘a wee gem.’ Buy, sell, exchange. Invest now, unbeaten value. The influential New Zealand art dealer, Peter McLeavey, is depicted as his signature black hat. Robinson’s canvas reads: Trusted dealers for over 100 years. This painting crackles with irony: a mash up of identity politics and capitalist agendas. Car dealership is equated with art dealership and the arms race becomes a visual pun about the price war. Local audiences will recognize slogans like Frosty Boy’s ‘Often licked, never beaten’, alongside references to Pak and Save, The Sale of the Century and The Warehouse. Robinson adjusts the word warehouse so that it reads ‘wharehouse.’ Whare is of course the Maori word for meeting house. Robinson uses humour to activate social issues; he lampoons racial stereotypes simply by cashing in on them. Peter McLeavey is Robinson’s dealer, but his black hat offset by the words, ‘Whites Ltd.’ As a young artist Robinson rose to prominence in the late nineties for a series of percentage paintings baldly advertising the statistical status of his Maori bloodline. He confronts the audience with the cold, hard facts. In Robinson’s hands racial identity becomes a numbers game. But where does the artist situate himself inside this equation? Robert Leonard says of the percentage series, “...they stake his claim to a Maori legacy, and yet simultaneously seem to trivialise it, as if to question how much of a Maori he is or whether he’s just jumping on the bandwagon.” 1 In this painting Robinson’s percentage signs now jostle for attention in an economic environment dominated by bargain pricing. His linear drawings of airplanes have become so stylized they resemble crosses; their tail ends almost evoke the insignia of the swastika. Robinson is known for working with multiple images of corporate branding including the Te Papa fingerprint logo. His work exhibits - if not disdain - a distrust of nationalistic signs. Like Michael Parekowhai, Robinson expanded the arena for contemporary Maori artists by refusing to be cozily pigeon holed by race. Instead he plays the role of devil’s advocate. He questions the authenticity of his own identity as a Maori artist, refusing to go for the easy sell.. In Robinson’s characteristic colour palette this untitled painting is black and white and read all over. Conscious of the economic status of painting as a product within a global marketplace, this work appears to comment on its own currency. One black square on the canvas declares: fashion statement of the nineties. Robinson’s Painting, 1999 outlives its built in used by date.

Peter Robinson Lot 34 Painting 1999 oil and acrylic on unstretched linen canvas variously inscribed 2145 x 4800mm

Megan Dunn

$250 000 – $350 000 1.

Robert Leonard ‘3.125% Pure: Peter Robinson Plays the Numbers Game’ Art And Text 50 1995, p 18-20.

Provenance Private collection, Wellington. Purchased by the current owner from Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington in 1998. Exhibited ‘Dark Plain’, Christchurch Arts Festival, Centre of Contemporary Art, July 18 – August 5, 2001. ‘Maori’, Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, Holland, 2011. Illustrated Warren Feeney, Dark Plain (Christchurch, 2001), cover.


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Michael Parekowhai Lot 35 Kiss the Baby Goodbye (Marquette) powder-coated steel, two parts, edition of 3 (1999) 1895 x 1195mm: each 1895 x 2490mm: installation size variable $100 000 – $150 000 Provenance Collection of the artist. Private collection, Auckland. Purchased by the current owner from Gow Langsford Gallery in 2001. Exhibited ‘Kitset Cultures’, Djamu Gallery, The Australian Museum, Sydney, 8 May – 28 September, 1999. Reference Robert Leonard and Lara Strongman, Michael Parekowhai: Kiss the Baby Goodbye (Govett-Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth, 1994)

Kiss The Baby Goodbye is presented as an oversized kitset: it comes with a set of cultural resonances that are readymade. This sculpture by Michael Parekowhai directly references and restages Kahukura, a 1968 canvas by Gordon Walters. Walters is recognized as a pioneer of abstraction in New Zealand art history, widely known for his geometric reworking of the Maori Koru motif. Imitation is the sincerest level of flattery and Parekowhai’s oversized kitset adds gloss and glamour to Walter’s legacy, but is also pitched at an audience well aware of the limitations of cultural appropriation. Parekowhai exhibited this sculpture in the mid-nineties as a new generation of Maori artists took centre stage. His kitset ‘Walters’ is illustrated in black and white: a doppelganger with a looming agenda. The black koru motif is physically present, spray painted on to powder-coated steel. The interlocking white koru motif is cut out of the frame. In this sculpture blackness is present. The kitset leans against the wall of the gallery. The white walls fill the negative space. The traditional white cube is the silent partner in completing the formal properties of the work. Parekowhai is an astute showman with a slick sense of humour. He reconfigures cultural issues as though they might be child’s play. Kiss the Baby Goodbye is a colloquial expression, taken from film and popular culture. Is Parekowhai kissing Walters goodbye? Who is the baby in this equation? Kahukura was allegedly made in 1968, the year Parekowhai was born. Walter’s original canvas features the predominant use of brown paint. As a Pakeha artist, Walters right to use the koru motif became publically rebuffed and reconsidered in the eighties and nineties. Parekowhai is an artist aware of racial stereotypes, however he doesn’t commit to a reductive reading of Walters practice. Instead the formal use of positive and negative space is extended in this sculpture. Kiss The Baby Goodbye operates as a visual pun. Parekowhai’s work is conceptually and formally tight. As with Walters, none of the striking design principles in the Koru design are lost. The work is black and white; the issues at stake are not. Parekowhai gets to have his cake and eat it too. Kahukura and Kiss The Baby Goodbye are bookends on a period of national art history. Current generations of New Zealand students are taught about these works in tandem, each work punctuates the historical relevance of the other. Gordon Walters re-branding of the Koru, however contested, has become iconic. In this sculpture Parekowhai throws the arguments surrounding cultural appropriation into sharp relief. Kiss The Baby Goodbye is a rite of passage; Parekowhai confirms the canonical status of Gordon Walters and by doing so steals some of his shine. Megan Dunn


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Falling light across a distant horizon is the painter’s chicane designed to lead the viewer’s eye past the disturbance of the real world into a place of quiet contemplation. it signals inward spiritual awareness. tony Fomison’s Ko te Kingitanga – Painting about the King Movement, 1981, is a classical figureground study, where both figure and ground occupy powerful roles: the figure is enthroned with a dignified strength; the ground, a resting place of spiritual identity that stretches to the light on the horizon. Here, the falling light is a spartan lemon yellow. ineffably, it falls across a forked bough that carries the instinctive symbolism of christ outstretched at crucifixion. Born into the working class Pakeha culture of christchurch, in the early 1960s tony Fomison developed an interest in archaeology and Pacific cultural history. in an ethnographic role he curated an exhibition of Maori rock drawings at the canterbury Museum. working at the Museum required an analytical synthesis of race and culture, and such observational detail filled his early journals when he later became a full time artist. After an isolating period overseas, his persona and his very identity took on a poly-cultural commitment—that of a Pakeha immersed in Maori culture with the full body marking of a Samoan pe’a. Even with all this poly-cultural immersion, there is a sense that his painted visual records are from the vantage point of the looking-in outsider, in a manner that allows him to interrogate cultural difference: in the current work, kingship in one culture is compared with kingship in another. in a 1972 essay, Michael Dunn suggests Fomison transformed his cultural sources into works, ‘with a distinctly new feeling and intensity’. indeed his paintings are melancholic, revelatory, allegorical and highly personal. He is the poet-painter who is the ethnographer bystander. As ian wedde observed in his catalogue essay on Fomison’s 1994 retrospective at city Gallery, wellington, ‘it is as if Fomison the Ethnographer is keeping notes on Fomison the Artist’. this early interest in ethnography sharpened his political tenor. in the current soulful work, we can sense commentary on the dissipation of power of tribal elders. the chief no longer provides ‘all’ for his people, as new Zealand embraced the political sustenance of the welfare State in the 1930s. Historically, the Maori King Movement formed as a balancing counterweight. in 1858 the chiefs of the central north island tribes constructed the role of ‘King’ in mirror-image to the monarch of the European colonizers, in an effort to maintain the attachment between iwi and their traditional lands during the Land wars of 1845-1872. Since that time the role has remained with the tainui iwi, united by bloodline from the time of the arrival of the great tainui canoe.

Tony Fomison Lot 36 Ko te Kingitanga – Painting about the King Movement oil on hessian mounted to board title inscribed, signed and dated 1981 verso; title inscribed on artist’s original catalogue label affixed verso 884 x 736mm

Fomison’s written journal suggests that he habitually painted his figure and light source (ground) with ‘deliberate counterpoint in the composition’. His Maori King stands to the right of the composition, remaining in shadow from the fading light descending from the left. the counterpoint has many echoes. the spiritual ‘tree of life’ on the left with its crucifixion narrative, echoes the spiritual strength of the Maori King subject. His eyes flash white in a sideways glancing blow to the gaze of the viewer. He strikes a figure of enchantment, a talisman cast back to a time of remembered power. it is in this act that the painting achieves its high point in romantic allegory. All that Art History of carravaggio, Michaelangelo and of course Gaugin, shows how the portrait may be assembled to represent power and authority, or even changing power and undermined authority. Fomison, the ethnographer-painter, treads a fine line—indeed a cultural filament: he gazes upon our Pacific cultures to sensitively reveal their living heart.

$120 000 – $160 000

Peter James Smith Provenance Private estate collection, wellington. Reference ian wedde (ed), Fomison: What shall we tell them? (city Gallery, wellington, 1994), catalogue no. 205.


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north and South featured strongly in Shane cotton’s exhibition Square Style, held at the Mori Gallery in Sydney in 1997. Square Style was a series of canvases emblazoned with painted images of Maori carvings and text, and conceived in very rectilinear forms. Some of these works, such as north and South, were conceived like emblems, positioning a few strong symbolic motifs in relationships of opposition and contrast. other works featured hundreds of interconnected symbols, densely arranged in more complex relationships, containing narratives of contested land and values in historical Maori-Pakeha relations. Stylistically all of the works in Square Style reveal the profound influence of painted decorative elements in Maori meeting houses, documented in roger neich’s landmark book Painted Histories (Auckland university Press, 1993). cotton often employs a comic strip or storyboard-like approach in these works, partly in reference to the coastal profiles and topographical drawings used by British surveyors to divide up the country during the colonial period. He also includes many references to modern computer graphics and icons – for example the keyboard shapes that take the place of teeth in the two tiki forms. together the computer keys, buttons and iconic shapes of European and Maori artefacts (pots, tiki), suggest mutability, not only of the image itself but of the cultural context in which it can be read. north and South is a sort of reversed-out, back-to-front image: the phrase ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ is cut in half so that reading from left to right you see ‘kettle black’ first under the kettle, followed on the right side of the image by ‘the pot calling the’ under the pot. Even the islands of new Zealand are cut up, flipped around, and the stitching that appears to hold the two sides of the image together seems precariously loose. According to the insightful essay by Ewan McDonald that accompanied the Mori Gallery show, north and South refers specifically to inter-Maori conflict in the context of colonization. the word ‘hēhē’ can refer to a wrong or disappointing action, while ‘hāhā’ can refer to choking or desolation. the Square Style series is an especially important one not only for cotton’s own oeuvre, as in many ways it marks the beginning of his maturity as a painter, but also for the understanding of ‘Maori art’ in general. this is because the Square Style series highlights a significant point in the development of academic studies of Maori material culture, when scholars identifying as Maori began to investigate, expose, and take control of the analytical methods that had been used to categorize the material arts of their culture for more than a century. the phrase ‘square style’ alludes to the use of such terminology to describe and group together ancestral Maori carvings on the basis of shape, without considering the complex relationships that exist between form, content, and context in the making of Maori whakairo or woodcarvings. once ethnographic stereotyping was removed from the discussion of form and content in Maori carving, an extraordinary wealth of cultural associations could be revealed. cotton’s approach with the Square Style show in Sydney was to show up the crudeness of the ‘square style’ label by infusing his rectangular canvases with as many layers of implied meaning, cross-cultural irony and conundrum as he could contrive within the available space. oliver Stead

80 A+o

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Shane Cotton Lot 37 north and South oil on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated 1997 1370 x 2128mm $150 000 – $200 000 Exhibited ‘Shane cotton: Square Style’, Mori Gallery, Sydney, 20 August – 6 September, 1997. Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

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Jeffrey Harris Lot 38 Supper at Emmaus oil on board title inscribed, signed and dated Seacliff, December 1971 verso 911 x 1220mm. $20 000 – $30 000 Exhibited ‘Jeffrey Harris – Paintings’, Peter McLeavey Gallery, wellington, 1972. Provenance Private collection, otago.

when Jeffrey Harris painted Supper at Emmaus, the 21-year old was immersed in an intense period of artistic discovery in Dunedin, under the unofficial tutelage of Michael Smither and ralph Hotere. Previously refused permission by his parents to attend art school, but determined to make a career as a painter, Harris had recently arrived in Dunedin from christchurch, where he had spent a couple of years working, mainly in isolation, to develop a raw but compelling gift for painting and draughtsmanship. interested in complex figure compositions, Harris was impressed by the work of Michael Smither. A letter to Smither had resulted in a lively correspondence, and the arrangement in 1969 by Smither, Hotere and others of Harris’ first exhibition, in the foyer of the otago Museum. As Smither was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow in 1970 he invited Harris to join him in Dunedin and work with him in his studio there. Before moving to Dunedin Harris had already been working on images of the crucifixion, principally as a formal means to explore ways of depicting figure groupings and emotional expressions. He was also fascinated by the interactions of family groups, and found, mostly through books, that historical paintings of biblical subjects provided a range of methods and techniques for approaching this theme in pictorial terms. Here again Smither’s advice was especially helpful to Harris, as Smither was also working on studies of families, and the problems of how to convey the emotional interactions of characters, using traditional pictorial devices but with a distinctly regional, new Zealand accent. with so much encouragement from Smither and Hotere Harris now entered a period of great productivity, during which his command of both composition and technique developed very rapidly towards the richly detailed and highly sophisticated figurative works that characterize his mature style before 2000. Supper at Emmaus is a wonderful example from this prolific time in Harris’s early career. ‘there’s a strong feeling of the excitement of discovery as i look back on that period now,’ Harris told Art New Zealand in 1981. the choice of subject is especially relevant to Harris’s investigations and methods. treated by many painters and illustrators since medieval times, the story of christ’s post-resurrection appearance to a startled couple of disciples presents an interesting psychological problem to the artist – how to convey the surprise of the disciples at the moment when the true identity of their strange, clean-shaven companion is revealed. in caravaggio’s famous 1601 painting Jesus is clean-shaven, perhaps because Mark (16:12) says that Jesus appeared ‘in a different form’. Harris’s Jesus is also clean-shaven, contrasting with the bearded figure in the crucifixion icon that appears in the work. Jesus affirms his identity by holding up one pierced hand. the incredulity expressed in the right-hand figure’s wrinkled-up nose and almost accusatory gaze says it all – despite the deceptive simplicity of Harris’s treatment, with its charming, faux-naif expressionism, the emotional insightfulness of the artist reveals its accuracy in the dramatic interaction between the characters’ eyes. oliver Stead


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“rick Killeen is the most formally inventive of the young painters in new Zealand. And among his diverse works and qualities, a constant is wit.” these are the opening lines written by Francis Pound in Art new Zealand number 20 from the winter of 1981. Killeen stands on the cover before a recently installed cut-out work – an assemblage device that the artist can be truly said to own. Killeen’s cut-outs emerged in late 1970s after a series of stylistic progressions so radical and fast-paced in their development that comparisons to David Bowie’s chameleon-like hit parade of the same period are not overstated. Killeen began the decade as a realist painter of social commentary and suburban unease, then made a conceptual breakthrough with a body of work engaging with Polynesian forms. Similar territory to walters perhaps, but with a stylistic exuberance that directly reflected the new cultures arriving from tonga, Samoa, Fiji and nuie in the 1970s. Soon after these works came the introduction of a gleaming metal substrate combined with hardedged adstraction and a gleaming skin of pigment courtesy of the automotive bodyshop in works such as Positive and Polynesian from 1978. Hot on their heels came the cut-outs. the first such as Across the Pacific from the late 1970s literally burst with the frisson of discovery: insects, birds, dogs, bugs and the earlier Polynesian forms rattle and hum with energy, excitement… the shock of the new! For the first few years the cut-outs were presented with flat colour and a quite limited palette – blacks and reds or blues and greens. in 1980 the individual cutouts began to play with painterly notation and 2D/3D vocabulary. the flattened metal cut-outs began to riff on their inherent sculptural typology and wittily have a bob each way. Maze no.2 comes from the early flowering of these visually punning, painterly forms but before the the more figurative works that emerged from 1983. in this work the forms are sinuous, fragmentary, discursive but still just abstract – the palette becomes broader and a touch softer with grapefruit yellow, crimson, grey and brown replacing the more assertive primary colours of the previous iterations. Killeen is exploring the possibilities of the cut-out form with elan. Have you ever installed a Killeen cut-out? these works are the apogee of analogue era interactivity. they arrive in a carefully constructed case. then you are pretty much on your own. the arrangement, the relationship of the parts is up to you. the installer in effect creates the work.

Richard Killeen

it is this embracing of chance that is the core of the ‘wit’ referred to by Pound. it is this invitation to explore and play that informs Killeen’s cut-outs with the power of connectitivy. He is Bowie and we the audience. together we are in concert. with a work such as Maze no.2 Killeen is asking us to look and to touch.

Lot 39 Maze no. 2 alkyd on aluminium, ten cut-outs signed and dated 1981; title inscribed, signed and dated each piece verso 1700 x 2150mm: installation size variable

Hamish coney

$37 000 – $50 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.


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Milan Mrkusich

Lot 40 Project (untitled) 1970 acrylic on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated ’70 verso; original Data Gallery label affixed verso 610 x 918mm $25 000 – $35 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.


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Lot 41 Active Blue Element oil on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated 1965 verso 864 x 864mm $35 000 – $50 000 Illustrated Alan wright and Edward Hanfling, Mrkusich: The Art of Transformation (Auckland, 2009), pl. 35. Provenance collection of Miss L. D Gilmour. Private collection, Auckland.

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there was little precedent for the sexuality or the bite of Michael illingworth’s paintings of the 1960s. At a distance of some forty years it can be a little difficult to understand what all the fuss was about. But it was big news when illingworth’s Adam and Eve paintings were exhibited at the Barry Lett Galleries in 1965. the vice squad was called in and the good folk of Auckland were forced to decide which side of the obscenity debate they were on. For a time illingworth and his art were notorious. At the same time illingworth was lampooning middle class mores in a series of paintings of and about the PissQuicks, an archetypal middle-class couple – representatives of all that was smug and self-satisfied in new Zealand in the 1960s. So illingworth at this time was something of an angry young man, spoiling for a fight. Documents from this period quote illingworth railing against the conservative attitudes of the period as being more rigid than the Victorian era! So in this context the languid and sensuous works that emerged from 1970 come as something of a surprise. illingworth at this time was in transition and longing for a return to the landscape that had drawn him back to new Zealand from his London based sojourn in 1961. Perhaps it was the birth of his second child Hana in 1971 or perhaps he was tiring of controversy, As Adam and Ave had been temporarily removed from a touring show of contemporary new Zealand Painting at the charleston Art Gallery in west Virginia after another complaint of indecency. it is clear when looking at Land, Land and island from 1971 that the ultimate move to a rural life in the coromandel which illingworth made in 1973 was very much on the artist’s mind. indeed the view of an emerald island could be that of Great Barrier island as viewed from the end of the peninsula. in 1971 illingworth was part of a distinguished group of artists (including colin Mccahon, Don Binney and Michael Smither ) curated in the Earth/Earth exhibition at Barry Lett Galleries. illingworth contributed five landscape works. Land, Land and island dates from this period. Another body of work from this year is the rangi and Papa creation Series which features the same device of suspended, embedded figures in the lower half of the canvas. in Land, Land and island the two figures float in a womblike subaqueous space beneath a shining sea. the billowing, curvaceous forms of body, sea, island and cloud speak of a sensual and terrestrial paradise. the effect is languorous, fertile and tumescent. it is impossible to ignore the erect phallus and open vagina of the two figures but just as in the rangi and Papa works the mood is not overtly sexual but life-affirming, mature and earthy.

Michael Illingworth Lot 42

the final note is scale. there are few larger works in illingworth’s oeuvre and the size of this canvas enables a confident grandeur that reflects the artist’s growing engagement with the forces of the land and an identification with Maori creation myths as so explicitly expressed in the Earth/Earth catalogue.

Land, Land and island oil on jute title inscribed, signed and dated ’71 verso 1120 x 865mm $100 000 – $150 000

A few years after Land, land and island was painted writers Jim and Mary Barr visited illingworth and family on their 280 acre block at coroglen just south of whitianga on the coromandel Peninsula. there they interviewed illingworth for the landmark publication contemporary new Zealand Painters Volume 1 (1976). the writers find illingworth, surrounded by children, turkeys and sheep very much in his element, living and painting on the land. Marti Friedlander’s images of illingworth and family are evocative and telling. the urban cowboy has become a barefoot farmer.

Exhibited ‘Earth/Earth’, Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland, 1971, cat no. 14. (under the title Sea, island and cloud Body with immigrants) ‘A tourist in Paradise Lost: the Art of Michael illingworth’, city Gallery, wellington, 14 July – 28 october, 2001. ‘Michael illingworth’, Peter McLeavey Gallery, wellington, August – September, 1972.

Hamish coney

Illustrated Lara Strongman and rebecca wilson (eds), A Tourist in Paradise Lost: The Art of Michael Illingworth (wellington, 2001), p. 12. Peter cape, New Zealand Painting Since 1960: A Study in Themes and Developments (collins, 1979), p. 172. Provenance Private collection, Auckland.


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Ralph Hotere Lot 43 Port chalmers Painting no. 8 acrylic on canvas, 1972 1200 x 1200mm $100 000 – $150 000 Provenance collection of the artist. Purchased by the current owner from John Leech Gallery, Auckland on november 4th 1986.

Among the most austere, reductive and challenging works that ralph Hotere produced are the ‘Port chalmers’ paintings, a smallish body of some twenty paintings produced in 1972. All are ‘abstract’ in the purest sense of the word, offering viewers little or nothing outside of their self-contained 1.2 metre square worlds of darkness. the only potential biographical, social or political foothold they offer is titular, the artist having made the permanent move down the harbour from Dunedin to live and work in carey’s Bay and Port chalmers in the same year as the series was painted. no artist in this country has worked as single-mindedly and extrapolated as much from as limited and demanding a chromatic range as ralph Hotere. As David Eggleton has observed, seemingly everything the artist touches turns to black. Each of the paintings in this series is differentiated only by number, the classic example before you being Port chalmers Painting no. 8. conceived in matte black and with none of the immediately seductive allure of the near-contemporaneous brolite lacquer works, these are paintings for quiet consideration and contemplation. Port chalmers Painting no. 8 offers no elixir for the time-poor or impatient; rather, like the slowly shifting tides, it creeps up on you slowly but surely, washing over and through you in a gentle tide of black. the infinite darkness is disturbed only by the finest of lines, hovering over and above the inky darkness. the t cross with its strong history and rich christian connotations perfectly bisects an empty circle barely perceptible and bought about by an ever so slight shift in tonal range. Masterfully understated Port chalmers Painting no. 8 could only have come from the hand of a master-painter at the height of his creative powers. the relentless exactitude of the composition is only offset by a small and comparatively painterly section which encroaches on the top of the picture plain appearing like the typically squally showers which frequently advance from tairoa Heads down the harbour towards Port chalmers. Perhaps then, it is possible to read the ‘Port chalmers’ paintings as landscape paintings, just not as we know them. After all, when you think about it, the land has always been at the heart of ralph Hotere’s work. Ben Plumbly

90 A+o

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Peter Siddell Lot 44 western walk oil on canvas, five panels signed and dated 1991 1390 x 595mm: each panel 1390 x 2975mm: overall $120 000 – $180 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

Peter Siddell and the Highway of the Spirits in the months leading up to his death following a protracted illness, i would talk to Peter Siddell about his Karekare works. in my beach house we would gaze out at the surf and across at Mt Zion and reminisce about our newton days when we were both Auckland Star delivery boys pushing our bikes with saddle sacks of the evening newspaper up the steep gully streets. we went to the same school, newton central and we knew every dairy on every corner from newton road to the three Lamps and all roads leading off. we both learnt to swim at the tepid Baths when it was salt water and then swimming after school in the creeks that lead off from western Springs. But what changed our lives was Karekare and the west coast. when Peter first started to paint Karekare, it was the cliffs of the watchman which inspired him with its sharp, flakey lizard like shell. His small exquisite paintings were an enormous success. He just got it right. He knew how to pick and capture the light on the rocks and the headlands and as he moved to larger works he was able to evoke a stillness in the landscape that was quite eerie. the canvas held the image of silence and even though the beach is a roar of surf and echoing cliffs, his art evoked a moment of quiet expectation. He told me how he and Sylvia drove out to Karekare in 1971 and bought the last section from old tom McGuire in a small secluded grove that once was the Murdoch flax mill. there they

built their small batch. A gentle waterfall which once generated power for the guest house and an electric light on the corner by the guesthouse ran gently down the hill from the cliff behind. the waterfall and grove was one of his first Karekare subjects in early exhibitions. Siddell was inspired by w.A. Sutton’s nor’wester in the cemetery in the Auckland Gallery, but it wasn’t till the 60s, when he began painting as a hobby, that this electrician turned painter started to fall under the spell of the Auckland light. From the small weekend bach he would walk down the coastline, diverting his journey over the sand dunes to the base of the cliffs, examining the pohutukawa groves, the rock falls and the streams that cascade from high up these great sea cliffs from the lost volcanic past. the seams of molten larva, the blowholes and the diverse rock strata fascinated his painter’s eye and he started to paint the rock faces, the clefts and vegetation clinging on for dear life. this long stretch of coastline from whatipu at the Manukau Heads, past the Pararaha Valley, the wetlands and the old bush tram track now almost obliterated, led him to exploring this very special stretch of coast. i told him that i had had a couple of experiences that echoed his painting where at night i entered a zone of silence, an unexplainable corridor where no sound of surf or wind permeated.


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An old Maori, who was out at Karekare working on the film the Piano, heard my tale and told me the answer was simple, it was the ‘Highway of the Spirits’. when i was writing rolling thunder, i saw in the ASB Grand Boardroom Peter Siddell’s magnificent five painting series western walk. i stood in stunned silence, observing its grandeur and beauty. i asked him if i could use it in the forward to the book. He kindly agreed and i have never stopped enjoying its sheer power, place and beauty. it is the largest work that Siddell painted and although there are many variations of parts of this painting, its size and his love for the subject is what impresses the viewer. the viewpoint is from the sea. the eye travels down the length of this beautiful walk from Mercer Bay in the north, past the island off the Karekare bay, taking in all the headland pa sites of Maori and then up to the trails formed by the timber millers and now part of the Hillary trail. the final canvases take you towards whatipu in the south and the entrance to the Manukau harbour and the dangerous treacherous bar. the canvasses are drenched in shimmering light reflected from the surf and the sea. it seems it is high summer and the dunes are dry and awaiting the autumn rains.

extraordinary and powerful technique and brilliant power of observation in this extraordinary landscape. western walk is possibly Peter Siddell’s greatest work. A work of deep significance and a tribute to a place that he had come to love, The Highway of the Spirits. Sir Bob Harvey Karekare March 2013

this colossal work acknowledges Peter Siddell, the painter as an artist and a lover of the west coast. Soon after our conversation i was delivering a eulogy at his funeral and reminiscing about his Karekare years, his

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Michael Smither Lot 45 Parihaka, South taranaki oil on board signed with artist’s initials M. D. S and dated ’73; original ‘Ministry of External relations and trade’ collection label affixed verso 595 x 965mm $70 000 – $100 000 Illustrated te Miringa Hohaia, Gregory o’Brien and Lara Strongman (eds), Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance (wellington, 2001), p. 173. Exhibited ‘Parihaka: the Art of Passive resistance’, city Gallery wellington 26 August 2000 – 19 January 2001. Provenance collection of the Ministry of External relations and trade. Private collection, Auckland.

i well remember my visit to the city Gallery in wellington to see the exhibition Parihaka, the Art of Passive resistance. Here was this wonderfully comprehensive exhibition detailing a crucial episode in the history of new Zealand of which i admit i knew nothing about. i am sure i was not the only one for whom the exhibition caused a few moments of reflection on what was a very different time.

house the garrison. Hundreds of men and youths were exiled to South island prisons where they were forced to work on infrastructure projects in the developing cities. over the intervening years the community of Parihaka, although severely diminished, has not been forgotten. Historian Dick Scott has famously detailed Parihaka’s story and many artists and poets have told the story through canvas, paper and wood.

Parihaka is a small taranaki coastal settlement located south-west of new Plymouth. By 1870 it was the largest Maori village in the country led by two prophetic figures, te whiti o rongomai and tohu Kakahi, whose community was united by a desire to peacefully resist the European encroachment onto Maori land. through non-violent means the people of Parihaka obstructed development, removing survey posts and ploughing confiscated land. However on 5 november 1881, the settlement was invaded by 1500 militia and armed members of the constabulary under John Byrce, the native Minister and Fort rolleston was constructed to

Born in taranaki, Parihaka, South taranaki appears to be a deeply personal reflection of Michael Smither’s connection to the area. At the top of the painting, clouds gather over the mountain itself, lending an ominous, spiritual mood, while in the mid-ground, Smither creates a veritable moonscape of verdant, green hills lightly glazed with morning dew to depict the land that sustained the self-sufficient community. At the same time those hills bring to mind the Pā that would have existed in 1860, with numerous small pitched roof buildings all clustered around the base of the mountain.


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in the foreground many small pebbles are gathered on the beach, littered with driftwood scattered at the mouth of the stream, perhaps a reference to what Fort rolleston left behind. However, as the driftwood winds its way across the pebbles it seems to take the form of an eel, that sacred creature in Maori mythology. Legend tells that, like the people of Parihaka, eels may stay in one place for many years, storing food for a long journey. when the eel moves, they leave the path of life behind them. Leigh Melville

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Don Binney Lot 46 whatipu from South Head oil on canvas signed and dated 2002; original Artis Gallery label affixed verso 590 x 1150mm $45 000 – $65 000 Provenance Private collection, Australia.


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Frances Hodgkins Lot 47 Mother and Baby watercolour signed; dated 1921 – 22 on original Scottish Gallery label affixed verso 535 x 358mm $45 000 – $65 000

Provenance collection of the Scottish poet and daughter-in-law of leading Scottish artist Edward Arthur walton, Dorothy Seward walton (d.1980), who purchased the work originally from the artist’s one-person show in Manchester in 1922 where the artist was living at the time this watercolour was painted. Private collection, united Kingdom. Private collection, South island. Literature Linda Gill (ed), Letters of Francis Hodgkins (Auckland university Press, 1993), p. 352 – 353. Arthur r. Howell, Frances Hodgkins: Four Vital Years (1951), p.112.

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Dale Frank Lot 48 Doomsday Dwarf Star Hr8210 – 1 acrylic and varnish on canvas signed and dated 2002 verso 2000 x 2000mm $30 000 – $40 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.


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Martin Ball Lot 49 neil Finn oil on linen title inscribed, signed and dated ’06 – ’07 verso; original Gow Langsford Gallery label affixed verso 2105 x 1500mm $25 000 – $35 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland. Exhibited ‘the Archibald Prize’, the Art Gallery of new South wales, Sydney, Australia, 2008 where the artist claimed ‘the Packing room’ prize for this work.

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Bill Hammond Lot 50 List acrylic and metallic paint on brocade wallpaper title inscribed, signed and dated 1995 282 x 1310mm $25 000 – $35 000

100 A+o

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Seraphine Pick Lot 51 untitled oil on canvas signed and dated 910 x 660mm $12 000 – $18 000 Provenance Private collection, wellington.

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Colin McCahon

Lot 52 Jet out from Ahipara charcoal on paper title inscribed, signed and dated ’73 275 x 350mm $20 000 – $30 000 Reference colin Mccahon Database ( cM000508 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

102 A+o

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Lot 53 Fly out from Muriwai – it takes some looking at conté crayon on paper title inscribed, signed and dated Easter ’73 220 x 290mm $25 000 – $35 000 Reference colin Mccahon Database ( cM001123 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

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John Pule Lot 54 the Place where i’ve not Been enamel, graphite, ink, oil and oilstick on canvas, diptych title inscribed, signed and dated 1997 1520 x 2430mm $45 000 – $65 000 Provenance Private collection, East coast. Purchased by the current owner from Jonathan Smart Gallery, christchurch

104 A+o

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Julian Dashper Lot 55 chain Frame gilt on wood, 2/10 title inscribed, signed and dated 1760 x 1060 x 240mm $1500 – $2500 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

Steve Carr Lot 56 Antler hand-blown scientific glass, foam, brass (2008) 410 x 670 x 140mm $5500 – $7500 Provenance Private collection, Auckland. Purchased from Michael Lett, Auckland in 2008.

106 A+o

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Stephen Bram Lot 57 untitled oil on jute 408 x 355mm $3000 – $5000 Provenance Private collection, wellington.

Andrew McLeod Lot 58 Dreams and nightmares digital inkjet print with applied gouache title inscribed, signed and dated 2004 1460 x 1095mm $10 000 – $16 000 Provenance Private collection, wellington.

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Jude Rae Lot 59 nexus ii oil on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated ’94 verso 1820 x 1218mm $30 000 – $40 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

108 A+o

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Gretchen Albrecht Lot 60 Golden Shadow Landscape acrylic on canvas signed and dated ’72; title inscribed, signed and dated on artist’s original label affixed verso 1492 x 815mm $22 000 – $28 000

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Michael Illingworth Lot 61 Flower Painting oil on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated ’68 verso 355 x 257mm $20 000 – $30 000

110 A+o

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Seraphine Pick Lot 62 contemplation oil and graphite on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated ’94 1010 x 1522mm $13 000 – $18 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

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Peter Robinson Lot 63 100% Pure cotton acrylic on linen artist’s name, title and date (1997) printed on original Anna Bibby Gallery label affixed verso 450 x 350mm $6000 – $9000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

Peter Robinson Lot 64 creative naZi oilstick, acrylic and tape on corrugated card title inscribed 410 x 480mm $8000 – $12 000 Provenance From the collection of Gregory Burke. Made by the artist in 1998 for Burke when he was Manager and Advisor at creative nZ. Burke served as the inaugural curator of Peter robinson and Jacqueline Fraser’s exhibition Bi-Polar, at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, new Zealand’s first participating exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

112 A+o

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Max Gimblett Lot 65 Sengai 4 synthetic polymer paint on canvas, three panels title inscribed, signed and dated 1987 verso 255 x 255mm: each panel 255 x 1215mm: installation size variable $10 000 – $15 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

John Reynolds Lot 66 i Gotta use words when i talk to You (composition no. 12 with purple) oilpaint marker on acrylic on canvas title inscribed, signed and dated 2005 verso 1680 x 1150mm $11 000 – $16 000 Provenance Private collection, Auckland.

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conditions of sale Please note: it is assumed that all bidders at auction have read and agreed to the conditions described on this page. Art+oBJEct directors are available during the auction viewing to clarify any questions you may have.




Registration: only registered bidders may bid at auction. You are required to complete a bidding card or absentee bidding form prior to the auction giving your correct name, address and telephone contact + supplementary information such as email addresses that you may wish to supply to Art+oBJEct

Buyers premium: the purchaser by bidding acknowledges their acceptance of a buyers premium of 15% + GSt on the premium to be added to the hammer price in the event of a successful sale at auction.

Bidders obligations: the act of bidding means all bidders acknowledge that they are personally responsible for payment if they are the successful bidder. this includes all registered absentee or telephone bidders. Bidders acting as an agent for a third party must obtain written authority from Art+oBJEct and provide written instructions from any represented party and their express commitment to pay all funds relating to a successful bid by their nominated agent.

2. Bidding: the highest bidder will be the purchaser subject to the auctioneer accepting the winning bid and any vendor’s reserve having been reached. the auctioneer has the right to refuse any bid. if this takes place or in the event of a dispute the auctioneer may call for bids at the previous lowest bid and proceed from this point. Bids advance at sums decreed by the auctioneer unless signaled otherwise by the auctioneer. no bids may be retracted. the auctioneer retains the right to bid on behalf of the vendor up to the reserve figure. 3. Reserve: Lots are offered and sold subject to the vendor’s reserve price being met. 4. Lots offered and sold as described and viewed: Art+oBJEct makes all attempts to accurately describe and catalogue lots offered for sale. notwithstanding this neither the vendor nor Art+oBJEct accepts any liability for errors of description or faults and imperfections whether described in writing or verbally. this applies to questions of authenticity and quality of the item. Buyers are deemed to have inspected the item thoroughly and proceed on their own judgment. the act of bidding is agreed by the buyer to be an indication that they are satisfied on all counts regarding condition and authenticity.

6. ART+OBJECT is an agent for a vendor: A+o has the right to conduct the sale of an item on behalf of a vendor. this may include withdrawing an item from sale for any reason. 7. Payment: Successful bidders are required to make full payment immediately post sale – being either the day of the sale or the following day. if for any reason payment is delayed then a 20% deposit is required immediately and the balance to 100% required within 3 working days of the sale date. Payment can be made by Eftpos, bank cheque or cash. cheques must be cleared before items are available for collection. credit cards are not accepted. 8. Failure to make payment: if a purchaser fails to make payment as outlined in point 7 above Art+oBJEct may without any advice to the purchaser exercise its right to: a) rescind or stop the sale, b) re offer the lot for sale to an underbidder or at auction. Art+oBJEct reserves the right to pursue the purchaser for any difference in sale proceeds if this course of action is chosen, c) to pursue legal remedy for breach of contract. 9. Collection of goods: Purchased items are to be removed from Art+oBJEct premises immediately after payment or clearance of cheques. Absentee bidders must make provision for the uplifting of purchased items (see instructions on the facing page)

11. Bids under reserve & highest subject bids: when the highest bid is below the vendor’s reserve this work may be announced by the auctioneer as sold ‘subject to vendor’s authority’ or some similar phrase. the effect of this announcement is to signify that the highest bidder will be the purchaser at the bid price if the vendor accepts this price. if this highest bid is accepted then the purchaser has entered a contract to purchase the item at the bid price plus any relevant buyers premium.

iMPortAnt ADVicE For BuYErS the following information does not form part of the conditions of sale, however buyers, particularly first time bidders are recommended to read these notes. A. Bidding at auction: Please ensure your instructions to the auctioneer are clear and easily understood. it is well to understand that during a busy sale with multiple bidders the auctioneer may not be able to see all bids at all times. it is recommended that you raise your bidding number clearly and without hesitation. if your bid is made in error or you have misunderstood the bidding level please advise the auctioneer immediately of your error – prior to the hammer falling. Please

note that if you have made a bid and the hammer has fallen and you are the highest bidder you have entered a binding contract to purchase an item at the bid price. new bidders in particular are advised to make themselves known to the sale auctioneer who will assist you with any questions about the conduct of the auction. B. Absentee bidding: Art+oBJEct welcomes absentee bids once the necessary authority has been completed and lodged with Art+oBJEct. A+o will do all it can to ensure bids are lodged on your behalf but accepts no liability for failure to carry out these bids. See the Absentee bidding form in this catalogue for information on lodging absentee bids. these are accepted up to 2 hours prior to the published auction commencement. c. Telephone bids: the same conditions apply to telephone bids. it is highly preferable to bid over a landline as the vagaries of cellphone connections may result in disappointment. You will be telephoned prior to your indicated lot arising in the catalogue order. if the phone is engaged or connection impossible the sale will proceed without your bidding. At times during an auction the bidding can be frenetic so you need to be sure you give clear instructions to the person executing your bids. the auctioneer will endeavour to cater to the requirements of phone bidders but cannot wait for a phone bid so your prompt participation is requested. D. New Zealand dollars: All estimates in this catalogue are in new Zealand dollars. the amount to be paid by successful bidders on the payment date is the new Zealand dollar amount stated on the purchaser invoice. Exchange rate variations are at the risk of the purchaser.

114 A+o

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Absentee bid form

this completed and signed form authorizes Art+oBJEct to bid on my behalf at the above mentioned auction for the following lots up to prices indicated below. these bids are to be executed at the lowest price levels possible.

Auction no. 65

Lot no.

i understand that if successful i will purchase the lot or lots at or below the prices listed on this form and the listed buyers premium for this sale (15%) and GSt on the buyers premium. i warrant also that i have read and understood and agree to comply with the conditions of sale as printed in the catalogue.


Bid maximum (new Zealand dollars)

Important Paintings and Contemporary Art including Five Paintings from the Estate of Gordon walters (1919–1995) 11 April 2013 at 6.30pm

ART+OBJECT 3 Abbey Street newton Auckland Po Box 68 345 newton Auckland 1145 telephone: +64 9 354 4646 Freephone: 0 800 80 60 01 Facsimile: +64 9 354 4645

Payment and Delivery Art+oBJEct will advise me as soon as is practical that i am the successful bidder of the lot or lots described above. i agree to pay immediately on receipt of this advice. Payment will be by cash, cheque or bank transfer. i understand that cheques will need to be cleared before goods can be uplifted or dispatched. i will arrange for collection or dispatch of my purchases. if Art+oBJEct is instructed by me to arrange for packing and dispatch of goods i agree to pay any costs incurred by Art+oBJEct. note: Art+oBJEct requests that these arrangements are made prior to the auction date to ensure prompt delivery processing. Please indicate as appropriate by ticking the box: Mr/MrS/MS:








Signed as agreed:

to register for Absentee bidding this form must be lodged with Art+oBJEct by 2pm on the day of the published sale time in one of three ways: 1. Fax this completed form to Art+oBJEct +64 9 354 4645 2. Email a printed, signed and scanned form to: 3. Post to Art+oBJEct, Po Box 68 345 newton, Auckland 1145, new Zealand

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Artist’s index

Albrecht, Gretchen Ball, Martin


Binney, Don



Bram, Stephen 57 Brown, nigel carr, Steve

12 56

cotton, Shane 37 Dashper, Julian Dibble, Paul


5, 26

Fomison, tony

16, 36

Frank, Dale 48 Frizzell, Dick


Gimblett, Max


Hammond, Bill

18, 50

Hanly, Pat

2, 25

Harris, Jeffrey

14, 38

Hipkins, Gavin


Hodgkins, Frances 47 Hotere, ralph 7, 28, 29, 43 illingworth, Michael Killeen, richard

42, 61

1, 39

Mccahon, colin

15, 32, 33, 52, 53

McLeod, Andrew 6, 58 Maddox, Allen 3, 4, 13 Mrkusich, Milan

31, 40, 41

Pardington, Fiona


Parekowhai, Michael Pick, Seraphine Pule, John


rae, Jude


reynolds, John


robinson, Peter Siddell, Peter

34, 63, 64


Smither, Michael Stringer, terry



thornley, Geoff todd, Yvonne

8, 35

51, 62

30 11

walters, Gordon

19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

116 A+o

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Untitled-3 Cat 3 65 Important Paintings cover.indd 1 AO590FA

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Untitled-3 4

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