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Painting by father of modern Chinese art brings nearly $500K

Published: Wed 31 Jul 2019 08:53 AM
A painting by the man considered to be the architect of modern Chinese art, has sold in Auckland for nearly $500,000.
Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) was considered one of the most influential artists in Chinese art history but his paintings have never been offered for sale before in either Australia or New Zealand.
One of his works, Trees and Snow Mountain, was offered at a sale of Rare and Important Art at the International Art Centre in Parnell, Auckland, tonight (Tuesday). After enthusiastic bidding, including bids from Hong Kong and Singapore, it sold for $470,000.
International Art Centre director Richard Thomson said there was strong pre-sale interest in the ink and colour on paper, which Wu finished in 1989, and that continued at the sale. He said the winning bidder was an Auckland-based buyer but it was not known if the painting would stay in New Zealand.
“Wu is revered for his style, particularly after he was banned from painting, teaching and lecturing for refusing to follow the authoritative style in China and produce images of hard-working soldiers and farmers,” Mr Thomson said.
The sale was one of the most significant of important art in New Zealand for several years and realised $3.3 million.
Don Binney’s Pipiwharauroa with Kereru, sold for $540,000. Two works by Charles Frederick Goldie also sold. Memories Harata Tuhaere Rewiri Tarapata of Orakei sold for $492,000 well above its $350,000 estimate after very strong bidding. Hori Pokai known as The Strategist sold for $280,000.
A watercolour by New Zealand artist, Frances Hodgkins, The Fishing Fleet, Chioggia, sold for $115,000. All five Frances Hodgkins paintings in the sale sold under the hammer, Mr Thomson said.
He said the scale of bidding and interest was extremely high but not unexpected.
“This was a very important sale and seldom do we get such a collection of very fine works of art in one sale. The buyers responded to that in an extraordinarily positive manner,” he said.

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