Certified sales of interest from auction rooms and private galleries.
At Cordy's sale of Wednesday July 21, the second highest price, but the major surprise, was the $3,500 paid by an Auckland collector for Maori Village with Figures, Tamaki Estuary, oil on canvas, 34 x 55cm, signed and dated 1901 by Frank Wright. The Wright brothers, Frank and Walter, are almost the last of the turn-of-the-century painters to make four figures in the salerooms - this in spite of their recognition in a joint exhibition arranged by the Auckland City Art Gallery as early as 1953. Far more professional in their approach than the more popular Charles Blomfield, they have lagged behind price-wise because their reputation is largely confined to Auckland, and because their better works are not frequently found in auction catalogues. This recent high price may bring a number of their paintings on to the market.
Almost as surprising was the $4,200 paid by another Auckland buyer for Charles Blomfield's Auckland from Titirangi, oil on canvas, 37 x 32cm signed and dated 1887. This attractive painting, of about average size, was expected to bring in the range of $3,000. The many Blomfield owners throughout the country will note this sale with interest.
The catalogue contained little else of interest to collectors and this fact was reflected in the lack of spirited bidding. An impression was gained that sellers' reserves seemed too high on indifferent lots. Auctioneers have a responsibility to their buyers to refuse pictures that are too highly reserved.