Kiwi couple's art collection raises millions

By Michael Dickison

Mean Time Exposure, by Brent Wong. Photo / Supplied
Mean Time Exposure, by Brent Wong. Photo / Supplied

The auction of one of New Zealand's most highly regarded art collections has fetched a record $4.52 million.

"We're completely stunned," said Hamish Coney, managing director of the Auckland auction house, Art+Object. It was the highest total ever for an art auction in New Zealand.

Major Kiwi artworks in the Les and Milly Paris collection were sold over two nights, with more than 200 collectors in attendance each night.

Les Paris died in 2000 and his widow is moving to Sydney.

"In the art world, the Les and Milly Paris collection has been recognised for many years as the great New Zealand art collection," Mr Coney said.

"It has a kind of seal of approval. It just doesn't get any better."

Ninety per cent of auctioned works had sold, he said, which compares to the average 60 per cent at art auctions.

"It was heaving. People were struggling to get in the door."

Te Papa bought some of the most expensive artworks, including Gordon Walters' Painting no 7, for $433,000, and Michael Illingworth's As Adam and Eve, for $234,500.

Top sellers

Painting no 7, by Gordon Walters - $433,000

Mokoia, by Gordon Walters - $415,000

The Family in the Van, by Michael Smither - $234,500

Mean Time Exposure, by Brent Wong - $105,500

- NZ Herald

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