A Wellington auction house is preparing to put some of the country's best paintings up for sale, including a Colin McCahon expected to reach more than $300,000.

Art + Object's April 7 auction, Important Paintings and Contemporary Art, is still open for entries.

It is the company's first major art sale of the year and features several important paintings with particularly interesting provenance and history.

Spearheading the catalogue will be McCahon's 1976 Rocks in the Sky, Series 2, No. 2: Lagoon, Muriwai, which is expected to fetch between $260,000 and $320,000.


The painting was previously in the collection of Pat Hanly and is among the finest paintings the artist produced in 1976.

Michael Illingworth's Bluffs and Sea, from 1972, is also up for grabs and going for between $80,000 and $120,000, and Peter McIntyre's Maori Mother and Child is up for between $32,000 and $42,000.

Other noteworthy works have come from the estate of Cubist painter and former director of the National Art Gallery (now Te Papa Tongarewa) the late Melvin Day; and three works from the collection of significant Wellington collectors, curators, arts commentators and contemporary art advocates, Jim and Mary Barr.

The catalogue will be limited to fewer than 80 lots and early consignment is advisable.

The company last year sold a record $8.5 million worth of art through auction, the highest in the company's history.