A rare and important art work by one of New Zealand's most celebrated painters failed to sell at auction last night.

Colin McCahon's Waterfall was predicted to reach up to $450,000 at last night's auction at Parnell's International Art Centre, but passed in at $300,000.

Other significant works that did sell at the auction last night included Peter Siddell's Red Carpet, which sold for $110,000 and Ralph Hotere's A Black Union Jack, which sold for $47,000.

Taranaki artist Michael Smither's work, The Cricket Match, sold for $52,000 and Charles Frederick Goldie's In Doubt, sold for $370,000 to a retiree from Hawke's Bay.