A painting by one of the country's leading abstract artists has been sold for more than $40,000, after it was put under the hammer for the very first time since being painted over 40 years ago.
Budding Landscape by Gretchen Albrecht exceeded expectations when it sold at Webb's auction house in Auckland last night for $40,852.
It had an expected value of between $25,000 to $35,000 prior to the auction.
The acrylic on canvas work was painted by the now 72-year-old artist and was part of her personal collection when it was bought from her in 1980.
After 36 years in their family, the previous owners decided to sell the painting after they returned to New Zealand from overseas and found that their newly built modern house did not have adequate wall space or a high enough stud.
The artwork, almost 2m high and painted in 1972, was part of Albrecht's Garden Series - one of her most celebrated series of work - and was sold in Webb's Paramount Series art auction.
The auction house said Budding Landscape saw competitive bidding from people both in the auction room and on the telephones.
Another painting sold in the Paramount Series auction was a Colin McCahon watercolour from 1954 titled "Manukau 2", which was picked up for $46,848.
There were also two Ian Scott lattice works, which brought in $5,405 and $7,808 - both over pre-auction estimates.
Albrecht was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000 and has exhibited for more than 50 years.
She is still painting fulltime.