Two out of seven floors of Fletcher House in Penrose have been refitted in open-plan style, partly prompting the sale of 55 works of art in New Zealand's most significant art collection.

Art to be auctioned at the International Art Centre on September 10 include works by Gretchen Albrecht, Patricia France, Milan Mrkusich, Pat Hanly, Rhona Haszard, Ralph Hotere, John Kinder, Raymond McIntyre, Richard Killeen, Evelyn Page, Geoff Thornley, Alfred Sharpe, Michael Smither, Ian Scott, Gordon Walters and Sir Toss Woollaston.

Dealer John Gow, a founding director of Gow Langsford Gallery, said he had helped with the purchase of more than 100 of the paintings, and said he was sorry to see the collection being broken up but understood why.

"I would by lying if I said I didn't feel a little twang of emotion around the idea of it changing but I'm also philosophical."


Fletcher had by far New Zealand's biggest corporate art collection, followed by BNZ, he said.

Richard Thomson, International Art Centre director, said there had already been a lot of interest in the sale and a 116-page glossy colour catalogue has been printed.

The Fletcher Collection began in 1962, when Sir James Fletcher bought four Hoyte watercolours for 300. The collection had grown to more than 550 works of art valued at many millions of dollars and representing a diverse range of New Zealand art and artists.