An Arabian prince has reportedly paid a record price for a painting by a living New Zealand artist.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates minister of foreign affairs and son of the founder of UAE, Emir of Abu Dhabi, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has spent this month holidaying in Queenstown.

Last weekend, he visited the Queenstown gallery of renowned Kiwi landscape artist Tim Wilson.

It's understood that the sheikh paid $575,000 for Summer Rains - an impressionistic landscape of Doubtful Sound.


Mr Wilson said the prince's assistant scoped out Wilson Gallery a couple of weeks before the royal arrived - and when the wealthy sheikh visited the gallery himself he made his choice "almost instantly".

"I had literally just completed this work as they were coming in," said 61-year-old Mr Wilson.

"This is a huge achievement for me and the opportunities that are being offered to me by the prince and his entourage are pretty extraordinary. I am hoping this increases our image in the Middle East."

New Zealand artist Tim Wilson. Poto / Supplied
New Zealand artist Tim Wilson. Poto / Supplied

The picture stands 1.5m high and 3m wide and took Mr Wilson two years to complete.

The sale shatters the previous record for an artwork sold by a living New Zealand artist - Bill Hammond's Farmer's Market, which went for $328,000 in 2013.

Michael Parekowhai is understood to have the record price for a living New Zealand artist, with Te Papa paying $1.5 million for his red piano sculpture.

Mr Wilson, who lives in Queenstown, is one of New Zealand's most successful landscape artists, with his paintings of the local landscape -- including the Matukituki Valley, Haast Pass and Manapouri -- often fetching figures in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.