Art + Object, Auckland
This week’s auction of photography was the third of the Art + Object auctions dedicated to sales of photography and part of the growing trend of photography specific auctions both overseas and in New Zealand.
The level of interest and the prices realised were an indication that photography is increasingly being seen as an important area for collection and investment.
Sales on the night were over $230 000 and featured works by New Zealand’s leading practitioners.
A number of high prices as well as several record prices were recorded showing that the market for contemporary art photographs is now well established.
The big star of the evening was Fiona Pardington who currently has a significant body of new work on show in the Sydney Biennale as well as shows in Wellington and Auckland. The works on offer were her classic images of tiki and native birds. These have always achieved reasonable prices but this auction saw her work achieve remarkable prices, helping set new bench marks for photographic prices at auction.
Her single tiki work "Ngai Tahu Hei Tiki" sold for $5200 which was just above the expected reserve price of $5000 and a blue tinted image of a tui. "Taongo Horomata / Virtue" sold for $6500 which was sold at the expected price.
Her larger work of huia feathers “Ake Ake Huia”, however, realized $26,000, nearly twice the expected reserve of $15,000 and a record price for a photograph at auction in this country. That record did not last too long however as later in the sale her major work, the Quai Branly Suite of “Nine Hei Tiki” sold for $55,000. This important group of nine tiki is one of only two complete sets made by the artist with the other set having been gifted to the people of France by the New Zealand government and is now in the international collection of the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.
Among the other high prices achieved was one of Michael Parekowhai’s flower arrangements acknowledging the battlesof the First World War. “Amiens” sold for $11,000 ($10,000). Also sold was “Great Sluice, $8000 ($8000) one of Yvonne Todd’s portrait works and one of Ann Shelton's major images “The Frederick B Butler Collection" sold for $5600 ($3500).
Ben Cauchi’s “Accidental Self portrait” sold for $2400 ($2500) and one of Anne Noble’s lip works “Ruby’s Room No 9” sold for $2750 ($3000).
Among the older classic works was an Ans Westra untitled image of 1962 featuring Maori children playing which went for $5100 ($3000), a Laurence Aberhart of 1982, “Files Whanganui” selling for $3500 ($4000) and a 1992 two panel work by Robin Morrison featuring the interior of Waireia Church and Christ at Whangape Harbour which went for $5000 ($5000).
Two portrait works by Richard Maloy featuring the artist with a red and green bags on his head achieved $3000 ($1500) each.
Director of Art + Object Ben Plumbly described the auction as “a phenomenal result for a medium which can now no longer be considered the poor cousin of painting and sculpture in this country. The unprecedented results for Fiona Pardington’s photographs in particular are a wonderful testament to her standing not just in the photographic world but in the globalized world of contemporary art.”
Fri, 21 May 2010