Goldie prospects savoured

By Mike Barrington

TAONGA: A Whangarei woman's family has owned this sketch signed "CF Goldie" for many years.

Russell publisher Alister Taylor, who has produced three authoritative books about Charles Goldie, is eager to examine a Northland man's picture an academic believes unlikely to have been done by the artist famous for his paintings of Maori dignitaries.

In further developments sparked by the Northland man producing an unsigned picture he believes Goldie did of his grandmother and her 2-year-old daughter in 1891, a Whangarei woman has sent the Advocate an image of a sketch signed "CF Goldie" of her uncle and his daughter.

She said the sketch - which she knew little about - was a family treasure on a wall at a relative's home in Auckland.

Another woman contacted the newspaper about a painting of a Maori chief she said Goldie had signed twice - once when he painted it and a second time when he visited her aunt from whom she inherited it. However, the unidentified chief will remain anonymous for now as the painting's owner withdrew her invitation to photograph it after considering the prospect of unwanted attention.

Mr Taylor published C.F. Goldie: His Life and Times in 1977 and followed it up with CF Goldie: Prints, drawings and criticism in 1979 and CF Goldie: Famous Maori leaders of New Zealand in 1993.

Now working on a catalogue listing all of the artist's works, he contacted the Advocate after Victoria University of Wellington art lecturer Roger Blackley said he thought the Northland man's picture was likely to be a painted photographic enlargement of a type large photographic establishments of the late 19th century produced for clients who wanted an impressive framed portrait.

Mr Taylor disputed the quality of Associate Professor Blackley's "off the cuff opinions" and the worth of a book the art historian had written about Goldie.

"I have long been an expert on the authentication of Goldie works," Mr Taylor said, offering to examine the 88-year-old Northland man's grandmother-and-daughter picture.

"Goldie only did one painting of mother with child and that was a pastiche-ey type of thing for a New Zealand Herald Christmas supplement early in the 1900s.

"It is quite unlike the 'Goldie' your old fella has."

Associate Professor Blackley and Mr Taylor said positive authentication was impossible from an image and they needed to examine the canvas itself.

- Northern Advocate

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