Important Paintings & Contemporary Art Consign Now

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Webb's Important Paintings & Contemporary Art Consign Now Brochure, February 2014


  • Consign Now

    Sale 367 Preview 27 March 2014

    2013 Year in review

    Webbs New Zealands Premier Auction HouseWebbs New Zealands Premier Auction House

    2014IMPORTANT PAINTINGS & CONTEMPORARY ART MARCh 27 Entries close 26 February

    Webbs Auction House RECORD YEAR IN REVIEW


    CoNsigN Now

  • Important Paintings and Contemporary Art

    Entries are now invited for Webbs first sale of Important Paintings & Contemporary Art for the 2014 season. A record performance in 2013 saw Webbs lead the New Zealand market, having transacted in excess of $7.6 million in fine art sales at auction. We encourage you to make contact for a no-obligation appraisal and to experience the scholarly, well-referenced approach that delivers New Zealands highest prices.

  • 2014Important paIntIngs & Contemporary art 25 marCh 2014 Entries close 26 February

    Consign now

  • Important Paintings and Contemporary Art

    The upcoming sale includes a nucleus of extremely rare, early consignments that, in each case, are of a quality surpassing any previous examples released to the auction market. The sale will be the focus of serious collectors this season.Collectors of modern New Zealand practice will gravitate towards our selection from this period, which is spearheaded by an iconic body of works surveying the practice of the cornerstone figure, Colin McCahon; in years to come, these pieces will be remembered as among the finest works by the artist ever to be sold at auction. Kauri Trees, Titirangi, completed between 1955 and 1957, is widely celebrated as a triumph from this period in the artists career and is the most well-resolved example in existence. Moby Dick is Sighted off Muriwai Beach belongs to a small series of works which relate to the Necessary Protection paintings, most of which are held in museum collections. The work is the first of its kind ever to be offered to the market and, until 2007, it was owned by a member of the McCahon family.

    The March event includes a large-scale installation by Lillian Budd (et al.), entitled Modern World, which was included in the seminal 1991 exhibition Headlands at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

    The work is unquestionably the most important piece by this historically significant, contemporary New Zealand artist ever to be offered at auction and will undoubtedly see Webbs continue to break new ground in this burgeoning sector of the market. Also included in the sale is Garth Tappers monumental Black Gold, the most important work that the artist ever produced and certainly the most impressive example of his practice ever to be made available to the open market.

    This forthcoming sale of Important Paintings & Contemporary Art will attract an audience of New Zealands foremost private collectors and institutions who are seeking to acquire outstanding works from New Zealands art-historical canon. Through both the rigour of our connoisseurship and the implementation of bespoke marketing strategies, Webbs consistently achieve sales at the top end of the market and surpasses vendor expectations with prices exceeding reserves.

    Contact: sophie Coupland Head of Fine Art Department Mobile: +64 21 510 876DDI: +64 9 529

    Contact: Charles ninow Fine Art Specialist Mobile: +64 29 770 4767DDI: +64 9 529

  • Webbs Auction House New Zealands Premier Auction House

    In relation to New Zealands art history, the Kauri series, executed during McCahons early Cubist period while residing at French Bay, Titirangi, from 1953 to 1959, is widely regarded to be pivotal in the formation of a nationally specific cultural identity. These years were enormously productive for McCahon and, arguably, one of the most crucial periods of his artistic oeuvre. The Kauri series is the most recognised embodiment of McCahons early practice and a watershed of his career, and this kauri-scape is one of the finest, most well-resolved examples from the series.

    McCahon was stimulated by the novelty of living surrounded by dense native bush, with its distinctive quality of light and terrain, and created work that engaged with the domestic landscape, depicting scenes framed by the windows of McCahons house, through which landscape was glimpsed, or viewed during walks around his neighbourhood.

    With its tension between representation and abstraction, Kauri Trees, Titirangi is an example of McCahons resolve to work through technical issues arising from his study of Cubism and to find new ways of organising space within a painting. In Kauri Trees, Titirangi, there is no clear horizon, rather a sense of enclosure and subdued light falling on foliage with kauri trunks stretching dynamically from top to bottom of the picture plane and occupying a shallow, non-perspectival space. It utilises a predominant diagonal grid which extends over the surface of the work, integrating the land and sky. This faceting or fragmentation, typical of the Titirangi period, is a device by which McCahon avoids an overly descriptive interpretation of landscape. McCahon himself commented on this turn towards abstraction: In 1957 too, a great change in attitude to the Titirangi landscape I came to grips with the kauri and turned him in all his splendour into a symbol.

    The Cubist-inspired treatment of Kauri Trees, Titirangi resonates with the reduced colours and density of pristine new Zealand bush and can be seen as an attempt by McCahon to nationalise the Cubist movement.


  • Important Paintings and Contemporary ArtImportant Paintings and Contemporary Art

    Colin mcCahon Kauri Trees, Titirangi

    oil on canvas signed McCahon and dated 55, 6, 7 in brushpoint lower left 880mm x 775mm

    PROVENANCE From the Molly Macalister Family Collection

    estimate $270,000 $320,000

  • Webbs Auction House New Zealands Premier Auction House

    Bill Hammonds Cave Painting 5 is a masterfully executed work belonging to a broader body of paintings made between 2007 and 2012, in which the artist uses human life and custom from the Paleolithic era to build an allegory for the political and social structures of the modern world.

    Cave Painting 5 is a particularly rare example in that, unlike most smaller, domestic-scale examples from the series each of which often features a single, dominant figure it pictures an expansive landscape and a vast array of figures, and conjures the same deep intensity as do Hammonds largest works from this period.

    There is something intensely dark and compelling about this foreboding environment with cavernous interiors, sparsely distributed vegetation and smouldering, active volcanoes. The painting is rendered in inky, velveteen blue and thick, luminescent gold, which emanates across the canvas shedding light on the world outside of the cave, and Hammonds technique and material choices imbue his subject matter with a ceremonial appearance. The potency of the gold is such that, in parts, it reflects from beneath the layer of blue, yielding an effect of stunning translucency. The manner in which the washes of gold lap against one another in the background recalls the slub of silk, while the cascading drips of pooling blue pigment bring to mind the sharp, strongly vertical structure of gothic architecture.

    The form of the winged, avian figures which populate the foreground is based on that of the native Haasts eagle, which was hunted to extinction by humans. Prior to this, the species was the natural predator of the giant moa and, by posing the central figure with a curled bicep and placing a stack of large bones in the lower right corner of the image, Hammond alludes to the species dominant role in ancient New Zealand. The work discusses the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest and, appearing almost as a religious tapestry, it prompts the viewer to consider the influence of that principle on the organisational structures of advanced civilisations.

    Cave Painting 5 discusses the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest and, appearing almost as a religious tapestry, it prompts the viewer to consider the influence of that principle on the organisational structures of advanced civilisations.


  • Important Paintings and Contemporary Art

    Bill hammond Cave Painting 5

    acrylic on board in original artist-selected frame signed W.D. Hammond, dated 2008 and inscribed Cave Painting 5 in brushpoint upper edge 345mm x 480mm

    PROVENANCE Purchased from Cave Paintings, Ivan Anthony Gallery, 2008.

    estimate $60,000 $80,000

  • Webbs Auction House New Zealands Premier Auction House

    Moby Dick is sighted off Muriwai Beach is one of only five paintings on canvas from an important body of work which was a precursor for the open-ended necessary Protection series.

    COLIN McCAHONThis series heralded the introduction of the simplified representations of cliff forms and some of the more intimate and controlled themes that would form the basis of the artists later-life practice. In this work, it is evident that McCahon has visually articulated both his environmental concerns and his religious convictions with exceptional clarity. Containing both the stylistic tendencies seen in the artists practice of 19601970 and the oblique representations of the artists output until the time of his death, the Moby Dick series bears witness to the artist at a turning point in his career. It is also a testament to the way in which his love for a particular place lifts the work above the function of symbolic illustration.

    In late 1971, McCahon began using imagery with an association with a specific location the cliffs above Otakamiro Point, Muriwai with a view that became the key to the Necessary Protection theme. He was quoted in 1972 as saying: My painting is almost entirely autobiographical it tells you where I am at any given time, where I am living and the direction I am pointing. In February 1972, McCahon produced this work and three other paintings, all titled Moby Dick is Sighted off Muriwai Beach, leaving no question about where he had located himself. This site gave greater reality to the view from the cliff top by including the small offshore island of Oaia. In these paintings, the island has been transformed into Moby Dick, the great white whale from Herman Melvilles classic 1851 novel. The metaphoric linking of Oaia Island and Moby Dick worked on many different levels. The image of the whale allowed McCahon to reference the symbol of the devil of early Christianity whilst recalling the salvation of Jonah from the whale, thereby reflecting his conflicted view of the Church, his despair at what was happening to the Muriwai environment and his desire to protect it. Similarly, the island represents the source of faith and Christs teachings and, on a metaphysical level, the title of the series, Necessary Protection, alludes to the protection of humanity by a spiritual being.

  • Important Paintings and Contemporary Art

    Colin mcCahon Moby Dick is Sighted off Muriwai Beach

    synthetic polymer paint on canvas signed McCahon and dated 72 in brushpoint lower right; inscribed MOBY DICK IS SIGHTED OFF MURIWAI BEACH in brushpoint lower left 765mm x 918mm

    PROVENANCE Gifted by the artist to his sister and passed, upon her death, to her husband who was the previous owner of the work.

    EXHIBITED Colin McCahon, Paintings from this Summer 71 72: Muriwai and Kurow, Barry Lett Galleries, March 1972.

    estimate: $350,000 $400,000

  • Webbs Auction House New Zealands Premier Auction House

    A key work in the ground-breaking exhibition Headlands Thinking through New Zealand Art, curated for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, in 1992, Modern World was one of the most influential examples of installation produced at this formative period in New Zealand art history. This is the first time it has been presented to the market since its exhibition in Sydney and subsequent tour of major New Zealand art galleries. It is an indication of Modern Worlds strength and relevance that it continues to challenge the publics perception of artistic production with its difficult-to-navigate content and thus stands as a highly important exemplar of postmodern New Zealand art practice.

    Modern World is notable because, rather than focusing on didactic constructs, it uses forms that are, both conceptually and practically, typically associated with the notion of enlightenment. In addition to the words Modern World, the four wall-hanging sheets of paper display a passage of text about bookkeeping and the leveraging of debt (the activities of an advanced society) while the three-dimensional elements of the work incorporate light fittings and a copy of the book Damned Shall be Desire by Stephen Coulter.

    At its heart, Modern World examines the ideals and schools of thought associated with the notion of modernity and the way in which those constructs influenced contemporary society at the time of its making. While the term modern is often used to describe things that are new, it was first used to collectively describe intellectual advancements such as capitalisation, industrialisation and rationalisation. In using found, antiquated objects which have been embellished with imprecise mediums such as resin and white, commercial acrylic, Budd imbues her subject matter with a nostalgic sensibility. The work sheds light on the true vintage of modern economic and political principles often cited as pillars of societal advancement. With its title serving as a central focus, Modern World challenges the viewer to consider the implications of the phrase and, by contrasting it with objects, each of which was produced for a specific purpose and in a considered manner but is now ultimately valueless, Budd considers the merits, failings and legacy of modernitys influence on contemporary society.

    Modern world, made in 1990, prior to the artist Lillian Budds involvement with the et al. collective, examines the physical and organisational structures that are synonymous with so-called modern day living.


  • Important Paintings and Contemporary Art

    Lillian Budd Modern World

    screenprint and acrylic polymer on four sheets of paper, two found lamps with shaped bulbs, found extension cord and resin coated copy Damned shall be desire by Stephen Coulter affixed

    to found stand; National Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand & Museum Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia: Touring Exhibition label attached to base of found lamp (pictured furthest left).

    2400mm x 2000mm x 3000mm (overall, as installed).

    estimate $50,000 - $60,000

  • Webbs Auction House New Zealands Premier Auction House

    Garth Tappers practice had utilitarian aims and, as a whole, his lifes work reflected on our national identity from a unique vantage. Of Tapper, art critic Hamish Keith stated in 1975, he is completely with the mainstream of New Zealand life and reports upon it. He is perhaps the only genuine social observer we have in New Zealand and should be cherished for that.

    Tappers entire output shared this common conceptual focus and, accordingly, Black...