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Auction Thursday 11 August 2011 Commencing at 7pm The George Hotel 50 Park Terrace Christchurch New Zealand


Viewing Watson’s Gallery 2 Oxley Ave St Albans Christchurch p 03 366 0236 Opening Preview Thur, 4 August, 6:30pm Fri 5 10am - 6pm Sun 7 1pm - 3pm Mon 8 10am - 5pm Tue 9 10am - 5pm Wed 10 10am - 7pm Thur No Viewing Private viewing by appointment only Contacts for this auction Toby Macalister e toby@watsonsauctions.com c 021 925 333 Jacqueline Ballard e jacqueline@watsonsauctions.com c 027 295 5735 Please Note A buyer’s premium of 15% will be charged on all items in this auction. GST (15%) is payable on the buyer’s premium. Totalling 17.25%


Foreword

In 1947 the eminent modernist architect Mies van der Rohe made his famous statement “Less is More”, words that could aptly be applied to the enticing selection in this sale. Whilst comprising just 25 works of varied media by 18 different artists the choice includes an array of quality works. The selection is all the more remarkable when it is considered that there is a representation from almost every decade since the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present. However it is also very much a Canterbury oriented sale and contains no fewer than 13 works by the finest Canterbury artists of both local and national significance. Artists like; W A. Sutton, Doris Lusk, Rudolf Gopas, M T. Woollaston, Michael Eaton, Trevor Moffitt and Quentin MacFarlane. Many of the works in the catalogue by these artists date from the 1960s which is one of the most fertile, and sought after, periods in New Zealand art. It is a lineup to satisfy all tastes. As with most art sales, works have been mainly sourced from private collections but there is also a noteworthy suite of etchings by the doyen printmaker Barry Cleavin being offered out of the corporate collection of Buddle Findlay. This suite from the ‘Allegations’ series was also published as a book in 1988 and is one of the most impressive by this artist. Among the works prominent from private collectors are several that once belonged to the late Dame Jean Herbison (1923 -2007) and her sister Ruth. Dame Jean had an illustrious career in education spanning many decades took a keen interest in contemporary Canterbury artists. In contrast some of the earliest works in this sale come from the collection of Mt Cook

Station, which was established by the Burnett family in 1864. Of importance among the works offered from this collection is statuary after Bertel Thorvalden and Antonia Canova, two of the most acclaimed European neoclassical sculptors of the early 19th century. Of equal importance from this collection is an historically significant watercolour by the colonial New Zealand artist William Henry Raworth. Despite the strength of New Zealand content two special works by arguably Europe’s most celebrated 20th century designer, Erté (Romain de Tirtoff) , stand out. Erté, whose career extended over more than seven decades, also illustrated for Harpers Bazaar from 1915 to 1937. Between the two World Wars when Erté’s career was at its height he designed costumes, jewellery and sets for many of the most important ballet, theatre and film productions of his time. Even though Christchurch has experienced almost 12 months of continuous natural disaster the enthusiasm that Cantabrians have for the arts has not been daunted. The period of enforced recess the art community has gone through recently has offered time to reflect on how rich the heritage of art and artists in our region has been, and still continues to be. Over the past two decades Canterbury has certainly lost many of its major twentieth century artists, several of whom are represented in the present sale, although with their passing others have taken their place. Every year a new crop of graduates emerge from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, and whilst not all will become major artists, it all bodes well for the future.


Contents 2 Auction Information 3 Viewing 4 Foreword 6 Coming Auctions

8 The Connoisseurs Art Collection Lots 1 - 25 Featuring William A Sutton William Henry Raworth Doris Lusk Frances Hodgkins Trevor Moffitt Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss” Woollaston

49 Artist Index 50 Terms and Conditions

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spring

the dame jean herbison collection of applied arts Featuring: Castle, Blumhardt, Smisek, Holland, Valentine, Fisher, Brickell, Stichbury.


coming auctions

veteran, vintage, sports & classic cars

summer

entries invited Above: Teretonga Starting Grid 1965 4. Jack Brabham 7. Stirling Moss 47. Bruce McLaren

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William A Sutton

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Canterbury Nor’wester (Land and Sky series No. 5) Oil on Canvas Signed & Dated 1983 510 x 1070mm $20,000 - $28,000

William A Sutton

Orton Bradley Park, Autumn Watercolour Signed & Dated 1982 385 x 530mm $4,000 - $6,000


Up until 1949 Sutton was largely concerned with making pleasant representations of the Canterbury landscape and other subjects in a pseudo Impressionist style, following what he had been taught at Canterbury College School of Art. The school promulgated an art education system where students were encouraged to draw and paint what they saw and to formalise composition as much as possible based on accepted pictorial principles. This concern for the outward appearance of things was cultivated by teachers at the school such as Cecil Kelly, Ivy Fife, Colin Lovell Smith and Archibald Nicoll. All were artists that Sutton greatly admired and was keen to emulate. However after spending time overseas from 1947 – 1949 and experiencing first hand the works of great artists such as: Joseph W. M. Turner, Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer and above all Paul Cézanne, whose work had the greatest impact, Sutton realised that there were other possibilities in painting. Following his return to New Zealand he began to see the Canterbury landscape with a new vision. No longer was it the superficial appearance that was important, but rather its structure and the unique features of the Canterbury environment. One of these was the characteristic effect that the summer nor’west wind had not only on the land forms of hills and Canterbury Plains but also the distinctive cloud patterns it created in the sky. The nor’wester in Sutton’s painting played a major role for the first time in his now pre-eminent work Nor’wester in a Cemetery (1950) a painting that was also the seeding ground for many ideas he progressed in his various landscape series in the decades that followed.

In 1983 Sutton began his series Land & Sky which was later attributed by him as likely having been directly inspired by a work by his friend and fellow artist Doris Lusk. Some years later Sutton stated in an interview with researcher Sarah Rennie that: “Years ago Doris Lusk did a sketch on the Port Hills while working with a group of learners, looking down a gully and recording the wind patterns of the tussocks as the nor’wester twisted and buffeted them. This image is still with me and may have influenced my Land and Sky series”. Sutton initially made 7 paintings in 1983 of which Canterbury Nor’wester is number 5 . In these paintings he combined the dominant features of the Canterbury Plains and its shapes against the horizon of a nor’west sky. The following year he extended the series exploring and progressively refining each painting with varying degrees of abstraction to achieve imagery that symbolised rather than described Canterbury, its sky, hills and plains. Born in Christchurch in 1917, Sutton studied at Canterbury College School of Art from 1932 – 1938. He began exhibiting at the Canterbury Society of Arts in 1938 and first showed with the Group in 1946. In April 1947 he held his first solo exhibition at the Pioneer Hall in Dunedin prior to leaving for study overseas. On his return to New Zealand after nearly two years in England and Europe Sutton joined the staff of the University of Canterbury School of Art as a lecturer, teaching mainly drawing and painting. He retired in 1979 and the following year was awarded the CBE for his service to art. Sutton died in 2000.

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William Henry Raworth

Mount Cook From Braemar

Watercolour Signed, Titled & Dated 1872 335 x 623mm $4,000 - $6,000


During the early part of 1872 Raworth spent time in the Mount Cook region painting. Among the subjects that appears in several watercolours from this time is the Jollie River Valley and Gorge. This painting further back in the valley is thought to depict the early homestead at old Braemar Station looking up the Jollie River Valley toward Mt Cook. Raworth has painted the scene characteristically with a particularly dramatic nor’west sky. Like his teacher John Linnell the painting of skies was a good means of expressing the forces of nature and adding romantic atmosphere to a painting. At the time this watercolour was made Braemar Station had just passed out of the ownership of John Hall, later Sir John Hall, Prime-Minister of New Zealand 1879 -1882. Depicted dominantly in the painting is thought to be the original Braemar homestead which was once described as comprising just three rooms. Often, on such visits to the back country, Raworth would have someone local as a guide and occasionally he would include them in a painting. It is likely that the shepherd standing with his dog was Raworth’s guide on this occasion. Born in Nottingham in 1821, Raworth became a pupil and later assistant to his uncle the celebrated London painter John Linnell (1792 -1882). Linnell was a strong advocate of naturalism which required painting as much as possible on the spot out of doors rather than in the studio. This is an approach that Raworth also practiced after he came to New Zealand but in contrast he did finish many watercolours in his studio. Raworth married his cousin Elizabeth

Linnell (1824 -1880) in 1849 and they emigrated to Canterbury on the Sir George Seymour the following year. Within a short time of his arrival Raworth had set up a studio in Lyttelton and was advertising for pupils. However the 1850s did not offer many prospects for professional artists and within a few years Raworth had moved to Australia. However opportunities there were no greater for him and he returned to Canterbury. Around 1868 he set up his home and studio in Armagh St close to Hagley Park and began advertising for pupils. Over the next four years he also travelled extensively through the South Island and early in 1872 spent time painting in the Mt Cook region. By June of that year Raworth was back in Australia again where he held a major exhibition of some 100 watercolours of New Zealand Scenery at Hines Gallery, Collins St, Melbourne. The reviews of the exhibition which included several Mt Cook paintings were full of praise, with Raworth’s works being ranked the equal to Nicholas Chevalier and John Gully for his mastery of the picturesque. After nearly a year in Australia he returned to Christchurch but soon after moved south to Dunedin in search of better prospects. The few years Raworth spent in Otago offered him much material for his brush but limited remuneration and by 1878 he had moved once again to Australia, this time to Sydney. In 1884 and 1885 Raworth had two successful exhibitions respectively at Burlington Gallery and Conduit St Galleries London. Back in Sydney he continued to maintain his profile as an artist in Australia until his death in 1904 .

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Doris Lusk

Night Drive Port Hills Oil on Board Signed & Dated 1957 580 x1020mm $20,000 - $30,000

Exhibited The Group Exhibition, 10 -25 October 1959, Cat No 24 Contemporary New Zealand Painting and Sculpture, Auckland Art Gallery, April 1960


Doris Lusk spent her formative years as an artist in the 1930s in Dunedin. The environment of that city with its harbour and hills predisposed her to being attracted to landscapes that had strong bold structure. On moving to Christchurch to live in 1942 she was equally attracted to the features of the Port Hills and geomophic of Banks Peninsula. From the late 1940s regular family holidays were spent near Akaroa and the landscapes that Lusk exhibited at Group exhibitions during that time and into the 1950s reflected those experiences. Back in Christchurch the Port Hills were a constant feature on the horizon and Lusk made many representational paintings looking down from these hills onto either the Canterbury Plains or Lyttelton Harbour. However towards the end of the 1950s no longer was topographical accuracy was no longer important and her interest in abstraction began to grow. Her landscapes though based on a specific place were reordered with all unnecessary detail removed, and became more symbolic than descriptive. This move toward abstraction on Lusk’s part was not isolated just to her as it was part of a general movement among the more progressive New Zealand artists in the 1950s, with many aligning themselves to a kind of pseudo Cubism to achieve a more harmonious abstract picture space. Lusk’s landscapes of the late 1950s of which Night Drive Port Hills is one, also have a slightly Cubist structure. In Night Drive Port Hills there is more than the mere formal revision of the picture plane, and this brooding nocturnal scene could almost be described as overtly surreal. The painting’s composition fundamentally comprises a series of interlocking curves and counter curves

dominated by the shapes of the road and hills, the rhythms of which are echoed in the sky. The eye is drawn along the lighted edge of the road toward the glowing city beyond then to moon that hovers almost as a counterbalance in the painting’s composition. There is much in the features of this painting that relate indirectly to several surrealist landscapes by the British artist Paul Nash. Like works by Nash in which the moon has a commanding presence Lusk has used it to effect not only in a night time scene, but to add another dimension to the painting which takes on a symbolic dreamlike presence. The 1950s were without doubt one of the most important decades in Lusk’s career as many of the paintings made during this time attest, reinforcing her place as one of New Zealand’s most important 20th Century landscape painters. Doris Lusk was born in Dunedin in 1916 and studied art at the King Edward Technical College Dunedin from 1933 to 1939. Following her marriage to Dermot Holland in 1941 she moved from Dunedin to live in Christchurch. At that time she was a potter as well as a painter and Lusk tutored pottery from 1947, and was a foundation member of the Canterbury Potters Association. From 1966 to 1981 she also taught at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts. After receiving a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Travel Award in 1974, Lusk travelled to Europe, Canada and the United States, but it was the New Zealand environment that remained the major influence upon her work. Shortly after her death in 1990 she was posthumously honoured with the Governor General Art Award for her outstanding contribution to New Zealand art.

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Doris Lusk

Botanical Gardens, Avon River Oil on Plywood Signed, Titled & Dated 1945 520 x 450mm $20,000 - $25,000


Botanical Gardens, Avon River (1945) was painted a few years after Lusk moved to Christchurch from Dunedin. During her studies at Dunedin’s King Edward Technical College (1934-9), Lusk was introduced to a modernist approach to landscape painting and encouraged to paint outdoors. She absorbed much from tutors Charlton Edgar and R. N. Field and from the mid-30s painted Central Otago subjects with a rare perception and vigour. In the early 1940s Lusk married Dermot Holland and moved to Christchurch. Botanical Gardens, Avon River, painted near the United Bowling, Tennis and Croquet Clubs building (depicted in the related oil Autumn, Avon River, 1944), appears almost naïve in execution, yet harvests a subtle strength. The subject of two small children playing in the river reflected Lusk’s situation at the time as a young mother with a toddler. The scale of the children, somewhat dwarfed by the large tree on the right of the composition, is held in check by the placement of the three blue-green benches and the sweep of both river and distant path. Lightly executed in oil on plywood, this charming painting is one of only four known oils of Hagley Park dating from the 1940s.

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Doris Lusk

Queenstown Watercolour Signed & Dated 1957 380 x 575mm $6,000 - $9,000

The vistas, scale and texture of the terrain around Queenstown captured Lusk’s attention over several decades and she returned to paint in this area throughout her career. The aerial perspective, strongly evident in the accomplished watercolour Queenstown, (1957), is typical of a number of Lusk landscapes and, in this regard, is reminiscent of her important Waikaremoana series, executed in the North Island the previous decade. The detailed foreground houses and trees hold the viewers attention in Queenstown as the scene opens up across Lake Wakatipu, past Frankton Arm, to the commanding drama of The Remarkables, cropped at the top of the painting. The broad washes illustrate Lusk’s command of the watercolour medium and the forms and shapes within the painting are underpinned by strong observational drawing. Auckland Art

Gallery own the large related work, Frankton Arm, Lake Wakatipu - a highly-stylised oil executed in the same year. The watercolour Queenstown, was one of two works (the other an oil portrait) dated 1957 in Lusk’s 1973 Retrospective, held at the Dowse Art Gallery (now The New Dowse), Lower Hutt. The diversity of the exhibition, which included sixty-five still life, landscapes and several portraits, illustrated the depth of Lusk’s explorations and vision. The show was well received throughout the country and toured to Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland. Perhaps most importantly it acknowledged Lusk’s contribution to painting in New Zealand at a significant time for the artist who by then was a highly respected lecturer at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts.


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Michael Eaton

Treescape 16 Acrylic on Canvas Signed and Dated 1977 615 x 615mm $1,500 - $2,000

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Rudi Gopas

Space ( Galactic Landscapes ) PVA & Oils on Board Signed & Titled c1965 1005 x 910mm $5,000 - $8,000


This painting was first exhibited as part of an exhibition entitled Galactic Landscapes 1965-67 at the New Vision Gallery as part of the Auckland Festival in May 1967, the only time Gopas ever had a one person show in Auckland. The painting was number five in a catalogue of twenty works and was given the title Unknown Regions. However on the back of the painting the title is given (twice) as Unknown Region; presumably the catalogue title is a misprint, possibly by analogy with three works in the catalogue given the title Uncharted Regions I, II, and III. There is also a second title on the back, namely Space, and the medium is given as oil, not PVA (polyvinal acetate). Presumably the work did not sell at the Auckland show and Gopas chose to exhibit it again under a different title. He may have felt that Space was better outside the context of the Galactic Landscapes exhibition. The different description of the medium is harder to explain. Perhaps before exhibiting it again Gopas reworked the surface of the painting with oil paints. In a catalogue note for the New Vision exhibition, Gopas wrote: ‘The paintings presented here as “Galactic Landscapes” evolved from experiments with Texture in PVA. The main aims I set myself were: To use very tangible texture in order to suggest something intangible; To produce paintings for “Living Light” revealing different aspects with the changing moods of light; To suggest a state of Emergence and Becoming, rather than to interpret finalised forms…’ What is most revealing about these comments is that the paintings

were to Gopas as much a depiction of ‘inner space’ as of the ‘outer space’ suggested by the exhibition title and the titles of individual works which included (in addition to those mentioned) Interstellar, Globular Cluster, Great Looped Nebula, Red Field and Milky Way – all suggestive of astronomical observation. Of course Gopas was himself a passionate amateur astronomer, and states in the New Vision catalogue, ‘Indeed, I do not remember what I produced first (at the age of 12 or 13) – my first painting or my first (rather flimsy) astronomical Telescope.’ Around the mid 1960s Gopas’s work had undergone a major change of direction from boldly coloured marine studies of Kaikoura and Lyttelton, with strong links in style to German Expressionism, to various forms of abstraction. Paintings like Space were an attempt to translate into the medium of pigment, the vast landscapes of deep space that Gopas was nightly exploring through his home-made telescope. But while abstraction was a means of exploring outer space it was, at the same time, a means for exploring inner space. It is this intersection of the microcosm with the macrocosm, inner space with outer space that gives Gopas’s work of the 1960s its distinction. Technically speaking, by mixing glue-like PVA with sawdust, grit and various kinds of studio detritus, Gopas was able to create textured surfaces which caught the light differentially and were thus able to suggest star sprinkled cosmic spaces as well as creating intriguing objects for the meditation of mental travellers.

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Romain de Tirtoff (Erté)

Aventurine Gouache 200 X 270mm $7,000 - $9,000

From the private collection of a former circle fine art director. The work is based on his painting for the cover of the March 1919 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. ‘Aventurine’ was the first of Ertés jewellery designs to be realised as an art to wear work. It was released in 1979 and became the most popular of the artists jewels. Refer Erté Art to Wear - The Complete Jewelry. Featured on The Cover and pages 38 - 41.


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Romain de Tirtoff (Erté)

La Courbe

Gouache Inscribed “from La Toison d’or” 140 x 110mm $7,000 - $9,000

From the private collection of a former circle fine art director. Refer Erté Art to Wear - The Complete Jewelry. Featured pages 106 & 107.

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Frances Hodgkins

Young Ladies in Conversation Watercolour Signed c1912 435 x 565mm $75,000 - $100,000


The date, setting and circumstances of this lively and delightfully informal work, are revealed by its close similarity to two other works which share precisely the same subject. They are The Convalescent, watercolour, 1912, (see Ascent 5: Frances Hodgkins Commemorative Issue, 1969, p. 31) and Two Girls in Conversation, watercolour, c. 1912 (Frances Hodgkins 18691947, Whitford and Hughes, London, 1990, catalogue no. 3). All three watercolours depict the same two girls or young women in the same simply furnished room. In all three one of the girls is either lying in or sitting on the bed. In The Convalescent the second girl is sitting on the bed talking to the one lying down; in Two Girls in Conversation, the convalescent is sitting cross legged on the bed while the other girl is seated on a chair beside the bed but leans on the bed with her right hand propping up her head. In the work in this catalogue, which can also be dated to 1912, the convalescent (which we now know she is) sits bare-legged on the bed, while her visitor (possibly a sister, possibly a friend) sits on a chair close by, cradling a kitten on her lap. The simply furnished room with an iron bedstead is possibly in a hospital or infirmary, though the presence of the kitten perhaps makes a non-domestic setting less likely. The rosary beads hanging on the wall, visible in two of the works, probably locate the setting of the three works in France, where Hodgkins was mostly resident between 1908 and 1912, when

she returned for the last time to New Zealand. The watercolour medium was almost exclusive to her work prior to her return to Europe in 1913. It was common for Hodgkins throughout her career to depict two people in the same picture, whether husband and wife, mother and child, sisters, or female friends. Some of her most famous works take this form, such as the Tate Gallery’s Loveday and Anne, or Auckland Art Gallery’s The Bridesmaids. Another watercolour from the pre-war period which has such a double focus is The WindowSeat (1907) in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Writing of that work, art historian Michael Dunn, has said, “There is perhaps a recollection of the Intimiste interiors of French painters such as Vuillard whose works she could have seen in Paris” (Frances Hodgkins, Paintings and Drawings, AUP, 1994, p. 98). The same could be said of the work under discussion, which shows a similar freedom in the handling of the watercolour medium. Common to all three works is the striking intimacy and informality of the situation. Residence in France gave Hodgkins access to more advanced painting styles than were available to her in New Zealand or England. At the time this work was painted she was still under the spell of Impressionism, in her preoccupation with light and shadow, and the suggesting of forms by long fluid lines of colour. Here soft blues and browns predominate in the light coming from the window over the bed.

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Ann Robinson

Hemisphere Vessel 2008 Lead Crystal Glass #1 Signed & Titled 2008 300 x 535 x 305mm $9,000 - $12,000 Slight Imperfection on Base


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Richard McWhannell

‘Richard - Fedora’

Oil on Linen on Board Signed, Titled & Dated 1200 x 950 mm $8,000 -$10,000

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Trevor Moffitt

The Only Catch of the Day Oil on Board Signed, Titled & Dated 1971 900 x 1200mm $20,000 - $30,000


Trevor Moffitt’s ‘Big Fishermen’ paintings hail from the late 1960s and early 1970s, and they embrace an activity that was a big part of the artist’s recreational life. When Moffitt relocated from Southland to Timaru in 1962 he seized the opportunity to fish the Opihi and Rangitata. His later permanent base in Christchurch gave him access to the famous salmon waters of the Rakaia and it was there that he became acquainted with the many angling protocols surrounding the Canterbury river-mouth. These would have been a revelation to someone like Moffitt, whose primary angling experience came by way of the somewhat solitary nature of stalking trout on the rivers and lakes of Southland. Expanding further on the successful figuresin-the-landscape theme that featured so prominently in the earlier Goldminer and Mackenzie series’ of the mid 1960s, Moffitt demonstrates a knowing eye when depicting the stance of these anglers and the distinctive colours of the snow-fed Rakaia River. These local colours are essentially ‘absorbed’ by the figures on the river banks, and almost this entire series takes on a very distinctive grey-toturquoise colour range. This limited palette, along with his characteristic lacquer finish and forthright signature combine to resolutely, and unmistakably, define these paintings as ‘Moffitts’. The painter is clearly not presenting us with a narrative sequence about the delicate art of flyfishing; rather these are hard men and women with robust gear, feet firmly planted on gravel banks fraught with dangers.

Unlike other types of angling, salmon fishing at the mouth of this particular river can be both communal and fiercely territorial. There is a staunch camaraderie but at the same time strict adherence to one’s place within the pecking order of this river bank. Their focus is often massive fish - heading up-river from the sea to spawn. For its participants this can be a cold and very physical pastime, so this end the painter’s treatment of his subjects is often as rough-hewn as the blokes themselves. ‘The Only Catch of the Day’ from 1971 is however a more contemplative image where the viewer is unsure if the subject is harbouring feelings of triumph at the size of his catch, or disappointment at the singular nature of it. Where some of the other works from this series such as ‘Dead Quinnat‘ have been described by artist Bill Sutton as ‘a harsh statement of death, put down in uncompromising terms’, this is a much more subtle statement about life, death and the human condition. Ralph Hotere’s comment that Moffitt could paint 10 miles with a single brushstroke’ certainly resounds through this work as it also delivers a profound sense of depth and distance. ‘The Only Catch of the Day’ is one of a unique series of 47 works by a singular New Zealand artist. This is not a cursory glance at a key New Zealand pastime, but a boots-and-all celebration of it by the Big Fisherman himself. Key Source: Trevor Moffitt – A Biography Chris Ronayne David Ling Publishing 2006

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Trevor Moffitt

Mackenzie With Dog Swimming in the Clutha River Oil on Hardboard Signed & Dated 1966 580 x 530mm $20,000 - $30,000


When Southland born Trevor Moffitt decided in 1964 to produce a series of paintings depicting the famous sheep-stealer James Mackenzie, he started on a path that 40 years later would lead him to be regarded as one of New Zealand’s most significant narrative artists. Born in Gore in 1936, Trevor Moffitt was raised in Waikaia and grew up around the Switzers mine tailings. He was educated at Waikaia School and it was through this community that he absorbed stories relating to the many deeds and legendary characters that helped mould Southland’s rough-hewn colonial history. The painter came from hardy working class stock; with a heritage of hard physical work, yet Trevor harboured a desire to further his education at the Canterbury College of Art. This ambition was met with a hostile reception at home. A now famous Moffitt portrait hangs in Christchurch Art Gallery. It features his father Bert with ‘Best Bets’ in one hand, his other hand pointing accusingly at the would-be artist. The painting is entitled ‘No Son of Mine Goes to University’. Trevor did go to University and his father refused to speak to him again for several years. After successfully graduating art school and teachers’ training college, he returned again to Southland, to work as an art educator in InvercargilI. Although he would finally leave Southland for good in 1964, it transpired that Southland would never leave this particular artist. His first major series of landscape paintings were appropriately called ‘Southland Series I’ and they explored the rugged profile of his native province. He would go on to give presence to another Southland

landscape with his ‘peopled’ ‘Goldminer’ series of almost 90 paintings - informed by his childhood memories of Waikaia and the associated gold history still resonating amongst its tailings and abandoned mines. But it was this marrying of figures with the landscape that would give rise to Moffitt’s most recognised and nationally significant body of work. The ‘Mackenzie Series’ was produced from Moffitt’s new base in Timaru and these paintings would finally give a face to one of the most famous figures from South Island folklore. Mackenzie himself had strong links with Southland and his footfalls in certain areas of the province predated recorded European settlement. This Gaelic speaking outlaw’s legacy was also tempered in the far south by a degree of affection and respect that certainly wasn’t accorded him in Moffitt’s new base of South Canterbury. In an interview with Gregory O’Brien for ‘Land & Deeds’ – Profiles of Contemporary New Zealand Painters’ Moffitt spoke of that legacy: ‘Where I came from, Mackenzie was a hero. He helped the poor Scottish settlers who, having spent what little money they had on land, found it impossible to get any stock. When the English settlers in Canterbury wouldn’t sell them any, Mackenzie stole them, and they’re certain he moved two or three major mobs down to Southland because suddenly sheep appeared all over the place’. The artist further noted that… ‘when I moved to Timaru I was able to investigate him a bit more’. When you consider what little is known of James Mackenzie, it is easy to see why Moffitt was so attracted to this subject. From the early 1850’s the Highland Scot and his remarkable

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Trevor Moffitt

Mackenzie With Dog Swimming in the Clutha River

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(Continued) dog covered enormous distances driving stolen sheep through some of the most inhospitable country in the South Island. Mackenzie himself has been variously described as having; ’these mad eyes and sandy hair, jet black hair and blue eyes, or bright red hair.’ Clearly a villain in the eyes of Canterbury landowners, Mackenzie was pursued and eventually arrested. He was prosecuted and incarcerated in Lyttelton prison, from where he made three unsuccessful escape attempts (being wounded during one of them). It was from his prison cell that he imparted critical information to fellow Scottish visitors seeking to take up pastoral leases in the far south. It was to one particular future Southland run holder Alexander McNab that Mackenzie imparted detailed descriptions of the river valleys in the far south suitable for sustaining livestock, but he also described the varied physical challenges settlers would have to overcome in going there. From personal experience, Mackenzie’s principal challenge (apart from the law) would certainly have been the Clutha River. Even a

cursory glance at its brooding turquoise depths confirms the dangers inherent in attempting to cross it. This is not, and has never been, a river to wade or ford. In the absence of any ferry a traveller would have to swim, and probably take their life in their hands doing so. Especially if one was also trying to drive a mob of sheep to its southern banks! For Trevor Moffitt, ‘the painter’ there was the potential to develop a near tragic scenario, but for Trevor Moffitt ‘the angler’, who knew this river, those attractive folklore elements would be tempered by a heightened respect for Mackenzie’s ability as a shepherd. Moffitt was never a romantic artist and his paintings are generally devoid of any sentimentality. However in ‘Mackenzie with Dog – Swimming the Clutha River’ the solid, stoic figure of Mackenzie seems to acquire an almost Pre-Raphaelite grace as he moves against the dangerous current. The scene is bristling with trepidation and the subject’s manner is clearly tempered by an obvious abiding concern for not only for his own safety, but for that of his precious dog.


True to form, Mackenzie’s disappearance from New Zealand’s colonial history was as mysterious as his arrival. At the conclusion of his prison sentence he seemingly wasn’t released into New Zealand, but rather put on a boat to South America. To this day there is no reliable physical description of this remarkable character, so it was fitting that fellow artist and critic Don Peebles once wrote of Moffitt’s 1964 series; ‘it doesn’t matter what Mackenzie actually looked like, this is what he is going to look like form now on’. Moffitt had put a face to a name and personified a legend. An image from this series would go on to grace the cover of James McNeish’s important historical novel ‘Mackenzie’ and other works housed in major museum collections which would cement the face of this shadowy folk hero in the minds of generations of New Zealanders. For the prodigious painter that he was, the Mackenzie Series is remarkably small by Moffitt standards. It seems only 13 works were

of lino-cut prints. Without question, Moffitt was our most distinguished narrative painter and he doggedly prospected and celebrated many marginal aspects of New Zealand’s social history when it was unfashionable to do so. Yet even when considering his many remarkable and substantial bodies of work that the painter was to produce over the next 40 years; it was Mackenzie who helped Moffitt strike the richest vein in the mine of New Zealand folklore. Trevor Moffitt died in Christchurch on 4 April 2006, aged 70. Key sources: Lands & Deeds – Profiles of Contemporary New Zealand Painters Gregory O’Brien Godwit 1996 Trevor Moffitt – A Biography Chris Ronayne David Ling Publishing 2006

ever produced – along with a small selection

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l o t

16

Jonh Gibb

Mill House Near Christchurch Oil on Canvas Signed & Titled 1892 500 x 745mm $18,000 - $24,000


The 1860s and 70s saw a boom in grain production on the Canterbury plains, and as much of this was for local consumption there was a need in most country districts for a means of processing crops quickly which gave rise to the building of many mills. These were mostly set up beside streams and rivers to enable a waterwheel to power the various pieces of machinery that the mill ran. Many were dual purpose, milling not only grain but also flax to accommodate an equally burgeoning flax fibre industry. The loction of the mill depicted in Gibb’s painting is not certain but is likely somewhere in North Canterbury possibly in the Ashley or Balcairn area. It is however typical of the kind of watermill that would have been operating in the back country in earlier years, but by the time Gibb made this painting the use of waterpower had already been mostly superseded by steam and such mills were being retired and becoming something of a rarity. Although Gibb is best known for his work as a marine artist he also did paintings of contemporary rural life and industry including many of homesteads. Most of these were commissioned and this may also have been the case for Mill House Near Christchurch. By the 1890s Gibb’s career as a painter had matured and he had achieved much popularity due in no small measure to the regularity he exhibited his paintings throughout New Zealand. At this time he was also progressing his keen interest in photography, and was using more frequently his half-plate camera imagery as an aide memoire in preparation for his studio

paintings. It is possible that Mill House Near Christchurch may have originally been based on such an image. Born in Scotland in 1831 Gibb had shown a natural inclination for drawing and painting and by 1849 was receiving tuition in the studio of the Scottish painter John Mackenzie of Greenock The subjects of Gibb’s early work during the 1850s, 60s and early 70s were focused on the Highlands the Clyde River and the environs of the Firth of Clyde. A traditionalist Gibb aligned himself with the picturesque style of such Scottish artists as Alfred de Breanski Snr., Joseph Farquarson and Sam Bough. He followed the academic practice of sketching the landscape and gathering information which was later worked up in the studio with intense attention to detail. Gibb emigrated to New Zealand late in 1876 and settled in Christchurch. Within weeks he was out painting and soon after held the first show of his work at a picture framers shop in High St. As there was no local art society, he initially exhibited at the Otago Society of Arts exhibitions in Dunedin. When the Canterbury Society of Arts was eventually formed in 1880, Gibb was a foundation member and by the time of his death in 1909 he had exhibited more than 200 works with the Society. Gibb also showed in Auckland and Wellington from the early 1880s and sent works to all the international and inter-colonial exhibitions beyond New Zealand. By the 1880s he was regarded as one of New Zealand’s major professional artists. The painting Mill House Near Christchurch is not only a fine example of the full effect of decades of experience and skill as an artist, but historically this work is a significant record of a rural industry that no longer exits.

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17

Barry Cleavin

Allegations Series Suite

Complete Suite 1-13 all numbered 9/20 Inscribed & Dated 1988 660 x 490mm each $3,000 - $4,000


35


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17

Barry Cleavin

Allegations Series Suite (Continued)


37


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Quentin Macfarlane

18

Estuary Cold Light Liquitex, Acrylic Paint on Canvas Signed 770 x 620mm $2,000 - $3,000

Exhibited “The Group Show” Christchurch 1970. Catalogue number 85


l o t

19

Dame Eileen Mayo

Springing Fern Screen Print Signed, Titled & Numbered 485 x 350mm $1,500 - $2,000

39


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20

Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss” Woollaston

Las Meninas (after Velázquez)

Oil on Board Signed & Dated 1991 1190 x 1000mm $30,000-$40,000


The riches of the Prado (Museum) became a whirling reprise, revealing new possibilities for his own painting.... Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656) exercised a special fascination. Woollaston haunted the room where it was installed.(1) In February 1987 Toss Woollaston travelled to Spain in the company of Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey, intending to renew his acquaintance with the works of European Old Masters; Francisco Goya, Diego Velázquez and El Greco. As the recipient of a grant from the New Zealand Government’s Arts Advisory Council in 1962, (2) Woollaston was already familiar with Velázquez’s Las Meninas from a previous visit to the Prado Museum in Madrid, admiring the complexity of its composition and its realism. (3) On his return to the Prado in 1987, the work assumed even more importance as Woollaston became preoccupied with Velázquez’s depiction of the infant Margarita Teresa, daughter of the King and Queen of Spain, her ladies in waiting and the artist’s treatment of interior space. Woollaston’s study, Las Meninas (after Velázquez) 1991, highlights a number of important and fundamental aspects of his practice. It also belongs to a wider body of watercolours, sketches and oil paintings by Woollaston of works by the Old Masters that share much in common with his landscapes and portraits, revealing his commitment to modernism and its concern with the integrity of ‘painterly truths,’ in representing the real world on the twodimensional picture plane. (4) How was Woollaston’s enthusiasm for Velázquez nurtured in New Zealand? In 1958, Woollaston received a grant of £500 from the Annual Fellowship of the Federation of

New Zealand Art Societies, allowing him to travel to Melbourne and Sydney to study first-hand, paintings by Rembrandt and other European artists.(5) At the National Gallery of Victoria, Nicolas Poussin’s The Israelites Crossing the Red Sea drew Woollaston’s attention to the formal qualities of his own painting, encouraging his interest in completing further study of works he admired in Western art. In doing so, his response assumed a life of its own, with his studies occupying as important a role in his practice as his landscapes and portraits. Woollaston’s biographer, Gerard Barnett observed: Woollaston returned to make drawings and watercolours of Poussin’s large oil painting,... fascinated by the structural logic of its composition. Soon his copies which had begun as an exercise for sharpening perception, evolved into more engrossing study – no less exacting than drawing from nature. (6) Indeed, Woollaston made little distinction between his Old Master studies and his treatment of the New Zealand landscape: ‘Poussin... he’s like nature in that he gives you plenty to do without suggesting that you merely copy him.’ (7) Appreciation of Woollaston’s studies was equally apparent in a solo exhibition of his work held in June 1988 at the Peter McLeavey Gallery in Wellington with the artist exhibiting a study of Las Meninas, (8) as well as works by Canaletto and an anonymous fifteenth-century Spanish painting. (9) Woollaston’s first experience of Goya and Velázquez at the Prado Museum equally informed his portraiture from the early 1960s. On his return from Madrid in 1962, he began a series of ambitious paintings that gave greater consideration to the composition of his subjects. Most notably, his complex spiral grouping of the figures in The Buchan Family (1963-1964), and the psychology of the family in a moment

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Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss” Woollaston

20

Las Meninas (after Velázquez) (Continued)

of ‘domestic tumult,’ shares an empathy with Goya’s group portraits of the Spanish royal family. (10) When he returned to the Prado in 1987, Woollaston was 76 years of age and no doubt his visit was an opportunity for him to consider a lifetime of his own work beside the Old Masters. (11) However, his letters to his wife Edith and her sister Margaret Alexander reveals the spell that Velázquez’s Las Meninas continued to hold over the artist. He was fascinated with a work that directly addressed essential questions about the deception of painting’s representation of the real world; the artifice and intelligence of its composition, its treatment of space and the viewer’s relationship with a work of art. He frequently returned to view the painting, his obsession frustrated by the constant flow of tourists and school groups to the Museum. He wrote to Margaret Alexander: I have spent a lot of this morning comparing - Las Meninas – with a [Giovanni Battista] Tieolo round the corner to which I repaired whenever Las Meninas got overcrowded... Japanese school parties as well as Spanish ones, and ordinary guided adults, left only odd short moments when I could look from a favourable position. The space construction is beautiful – the easel a near rectangle cutting in from the left into a much larger one downward & from the right – the ceiling and 2 walls – with a cornucopia of figures coming inward & upward from the lower right. Full of varying emphases, the sharpest in the centre of the large rear deep-space rectangle, where the man goes out of the door & looks back as he does so. This thrust both ways is also at the lower right in a different form, where the child puts his (her) foot on the dog’s rump and the dog puts his weight into resistance – a bit of sideplay if you like, in illustrative terms – but more importantly a formal element in the construction of the picture. (12)

Further correspondence with Edith, reiterated that Velázquez’s painting had won him over: ‘Marvellously this afternoon I got several sessions alone with Las Meninas. The talkers and their listeners crowd the room but only stay briefly. You can’t get nearer than about 12 feet from that painting because of the ropes, which makes it harder to turn the naturalism into paint itself, as you can in most of the others. Things we have seen in reproduction necessarily only a fraction of their size are thick with paint, added to, altered and changed – just as a real painter does! It is good to see miracles properly clothed in material.’ (13) At one point, Woollaston considered a series of works based upon Las Meninas, commenting to Edith: ‘Trios from Las Meninas – a theme has occurred to me. The figures dispose themselves in so many different trios. Fascinating.’ It is this shifting relationship between the figures and the spaces they occupy that Woollaston considers in Las Meninas (after Velázquez). Tutored by Flora Scales in Nelson in 1934, her knowledge of Hans Hoffman’s modernist theories and emphasis on the reduction of aerial and mathematical perspective systems were fundamental to Woollaston’s practice. (15) The compositions of his paintings were typified by the construction of overlapping planes and passages of paint that directed attention to the edges of the canvas, reducing spatial recession and leading the viewer’s attention back to the surface of the picture plane. In his detailed description of Las Meninas to Margaret Alexander, Woollaston expresses his admiration for Velázquez’s exposure of the trickery of painting, noting the placement of the artist’s easel close to the edge of the canvas, (reminding his audience of the painting they are also viewing), the central figure bathed in light


who turns and directs attention back to the foreground, and the positioning of the child and dog which also serves to frame the work. Las Meninas (after Velázquez), particularly reveals Woollaston’s interest in Velázquez’s treatment of light and the way in which it equally illuminates both foreground and background figures, drawing the viewer’s attention back to the foreground and further denying spatial recession. It’s the kind of textbook lesson in modernism familiar to Cézanne’s landscapes, with Woollaston reconciling the reduction of space on the picture plane with his characteristic, gestural treatment of form and robust composition.

(where attention more instinctively resided), to distribute interest democratically across the picture plane, creating a ‘surface that conducts the eye to the outer limits of the painting.’ (16) The decision represented an important maturity in his practice. As Barnett observed: ‘The large gestural works of the fifties and sixties can be seen as forays into the expansive rhythms of the baroque. Consummately, his large landscapes of the seventies and eighties fuse a romantic sense of vitality and grandeur of nature, with a classical concern for pictorial structure.’ (17)

On the advice of Peter McLeavey, Woollaston had extended the scale of his landscape painting in 1971, and become increasingly concerned with the challenges of diverting the viewer’s attention away from the centre of the painting,

Barnett’s commentary directs attention to Woollaston’s appreciation of the Old Masters, particularly Velázquez, revealing the significance of the Spanish artist’s work as both an expression of Woollaston’s intentions as a painter, (18) and his mutual empathy for the New Zealand landscape and European traditions of painting.

[1] Gerard Barnett, Toss Woollaston, Wellington:

[9] Trevelyan, , p. 431.

National Art Gallery, 1992, p. 95. [2] Gordon Brown and Hamish Keith, An Introduction

[10] Barnett, 74. [11] Trevelyan, p. 256.

to New Zealand Painting 1839-1980, Auckland: Bateman and Collins, 1982, p. 156.

[12] Woollaston to Margaret Alexander, 11 February 1987, Trevelyan, pp. 420-421.

[3] Barnett, p. 108. [13] Woollaston to Edith Woollaston, 12 February [4] Tony Green, ‘Toss Woollaston. Origins and

1987, Trevelyan, p. 422.

Influences,’ Gordon H. Brown Lectures, Wellington: Victoria University, 2004, p. 3. [5] Brown and Keith, pp. 154-156. [6] Barnett, p. 63. [7] Ibid. [8] Woollaston to Kerry Aberhart, 21 November 1987,

[14] Barnett, p. 21. [15] Brown and Keith, p. 158. [16] Barnett, p. 87. [17] Barnett, p. 91. [18] Barnett, p. 81.

Jill Trevelyan, [ed] Toss Woollaston. A Life in Letters, Wellington: Te Papa Tongarewa, 2004p. 436.

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21

Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss� Woollaston

Horoirangi from Mapua

Watercolour Signed & Dated 265 x 350mm $4,000 - $6,000


l o t

22

Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss� Woollaston

Tasman Bay from Mahana

Watercolour Signed & Dated 1966 230 x 300mm $4,000 - $6,000

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After Antonio Canova

Italian white marble figure group “ The Three Graces”

23

Mid 19th Century Height 1070mm $10,000 - $15,000

Antonio Canova’s (Venetian, 1757 -1822 ) statue “The Three Graces” is a neo-classical sculpture of the mythical three charities and daughters of Zeus, Euphrosyne, Algaea and Thalia, who were said to represent beauty, charm and joy. An original marble version of the Three Graces is in the Hermitage Museum. From The Mount Cook Station Collection


l o t

After Bertel Thorvaldsen

24

Italian white marble figure of Venus Mid 19th Century Height 910mm $5,000 - $8,000

Bertel Thorvaldsen (Swedish, 1770 - 1844) was widely considered the greatest neo-classical sculptor after Canova. Thorvaldsens Venus was commissioned by the Russian Countess Irina Vorontsov as part of a series of gods and goddesses. An original marble version of Venus with the apple by Thorvaldsen is in the Louvre. From The Mount Cook Station Collection

47


l o t

25

Eion Stevens

Explaining art to a dead Hare (3rd version) Oil on Canvas Signed, Titled & Dated 1987 760 x 760mm $4,000 - $6,000


Artist Index

By Lot Number

1

William A Sutton

2

William A Sutton

3

William Henry Raworth

4

Doris Lusk

5

Doris Lusk

6

Doris Lusk

7

Michael Eaton

8

Rudi Gopas

9

Romain de Tirtoff (Erté)

10

Romain de Tirtoff (Erté)

11

Frances Hodgkins

12

Ann Robinson

13

Richard McWhannell

14

Trevor Moffitt

15

Trevor Moffitt

16

John Gibb

17

Barry Cleavin

18

Quentin Macfarlane

19

Dame Eileen Mayo

20

Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss” Woollaston

21

Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss” Woollaston

22

Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss” Woollaston

23

After Antonio Canova

24

After Bertel Thorvaldsen

25

Eion Stevens

49


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51


The Art Of Law www.DuncanCotterill.com

CHRISTCHURCH

NELSON

WELLINGTON

AUCKLAND

SYDNEY


Credits

Essays Written By.. Neil Roberts William A Sutton - Canterbury Nor’wester (Land and Sky series No 5) William Henry Raworth - Mount Cook From Braemar Doris Lusk - Night Drive Port Hills John Gibb - Mill House Near Christchurch

Grant Banbury Doris Lusk - Queenstown Doris Lusk - Botanical Gardens, Avon River

Peter Simpson Rudi Gopas - Space ( Galatic Landscapes ) Frances Hodgkins - Young Ladies in Conversation

Jim Geddes Trevor Moffitt - The Only Catch of the Day Trevor Moffitt - Mackenzie With Dog Swimming in the Clutha River

Dr. Warren Feeney Sir Mountford Tosswill “Toss” Woollaston - Las Meninas (after Velázquez)


55


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Watson's The Connoisseurs Art Collection - Auction Catalogue - August 11 2011