Expert to hunt for hidden art treasure

By Roger Moroney roger.moroney@hbtoday.co.nz


Young Nick's Head in Poverty Bay was the first place sighted from Captain Cook's ship. The entire area was very rich in Maori tradition and culture. Much of that was recorded as art.Richard Thompson, a director of the International Art Centre Tucked away in the corner of a shed or garage somewhere in Hawke's Bay could be a slice of hidden treasure the property owners may have forgotten about. It could also be a slice of painted treasure hanging on a wall - it's owners unaware of its significance.

Auckland-based leading art specialist Richard Thompson has even speculated that there just might be a painting by one of New Zealand's most acclaimed and sought-after artists Charles Frederick Goldie "out there".

Mr Thompson, who is a director of the International Art Centre in Parnell, said he would be embarking on a "mission" to the Bay next month in search of art treasures which may be stored away. He said while the odds were against someone unearthing something as rare as a Goldie it was a possibility as they had surfaced in all parts of the country before.

And if someone had one hanging or hidden away they could be in for a windfall as one recent Goldie, which had been owned by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, sold for nearly $600,000.

He said Goldie painted a number of Maori chiefs and highly-ranked Maori women across the East Coast through the years and that the region had played an important part in the development of New Zealand art history.

"Young Nick's Head in Poverty Bay was the first place sighted from Captain Cook's ship Endeavour in 1769 and the entire area was very rich in Maori tradition and culture. Much of that was recorded as art," said Mr Thompson who will be in Napier from July 11.

Mr Thompson said because of the history of the area he was confident there were some important works of art around the east coast. He was aware of Goldies in private hands in Hawke's Bay along with works by other notable kiwi artists like Peter McIntyre, Frances Hodgkins and Colin McCahon.

He said while their owners may not want to sell them he was happy to give them some idea of their importance and value. He was happy to advise people with things stored away to check them out - just in case there was gold, in the form of a forgotten Goldie, amongst it.

 

- Hawkes Bay Today

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