New Zealand artist Bill Hammond’s work has risen in price since his death in January last year. Photo / included
Kiwi art collectors dug deep into Webb’s artwork auction tonight, paying high prices for the work of some of New Zealand’s most respected artists.
A great work by the late Christchurch artist Bill
Hammond was sold for $ 485,100.
The large acrylic-on-canvas painting, featuring Hammond’s distinctive bird-like creatures and painted in 2015, was one of five Hammonds for sale, three from a private Christchurch collection.
A 1985 acrylic-on-linen Hammond painting, The Strength to Carry On, sold for $ 97,020 and a 1987 oil-on-copper painting titled Song Book 3 sold for $ 45,478.
Late last year, the artist’s large 1999 acrylic-on-canvas painting, Melting Moments II, from his iconic “green” era, sold for a record $ 939,881, astonishing the art world.
Previously, Hammond’s artwork had sold for about $ 200,000.
Prices for the late artist’s work have escalated since his death last January, aged 73, especially for rarer pieces.
Web’s director of art, Charles Ninow, believes Hammond is now in a similar league to well-known New Zealand artists Colin McCahon and Charles F Goldie.
Prices for Hammond’s paintings have increased fivefold in the last 18 months, based on the price per square centimeter, he said.
It was unusual for prices to escalate so quickly after the death of an artist.
“With any artist, there’s a sweet spot. There are certain periods in their careers that people really want. Usually, there is already rarity and scarcity built into the price of desirable work.”
After Ralph Hotere died, the market was oversupplied and prices did not rise to the same extent, Ninow said.
Hammond’s bird painting, which he began to create in the 1990s, rarely came on the market because many were in museums, art galleries and at private collectors who did not want to part with them.
Since the artist’s death, collectors and investors had realized the importance of Hammond’s work as one of New Zealand’s greatest contemporary artists, and the fact that supply was limited.
Kiwis are increasingly investing in good New Zealand art as an insurance against inflation, he said.
The artwork auction was a collection of who’s who’s in the Kiwi art world featuring works by Colin McCahon, Tony Fomison, Max Gimblett, Don Binney, Gordon Walters, Toss Woollaston, Para Matchitt, Ralph Hotere, Shane Cotton, Michael Parekōwhai, Michael Smither , Peter Siddell, Dick Frizzell, Frances Hodgkins and Philip Clairmont on offer.
Buyers were noticeably cautious that many of the artwork did not fill the reserve at night, even though bidders could negotiate after the auction.
One Colin McCahon painting was passed on, subject to negotiation, another sold for $ 90,956.
Michael Smith’s 1973 oil-on-board painting Rockpools, from the estate of New Zealand writer and playwright Maurice Shadbolt, sold for $ 145,530. Another Smithers oil painting, Sunbathers on Board Ship, painted in 1968, sold for $ 72,765.
A 1973 Gretchen Albrecht acrylic on canvas, Threefold, sold for $ 127,338, while another Albrecht painting, A ‘Penumbra (In Memory of my Father) did not meet the reserve.
A 2011 oil-on-canvas painting, Untitled, by Kiwi artist Andrew McLeod sold for $ 84,892.
A Ralph Hotere sketch, Drawing for a Black Window, sold for $ 31,531 and a Frances Hodgkins watercolor from 1908, Pansies in a Vase, sold for $ 72,765.