Dunbar Sloane on Saleroom

Part of an article by Jane Greenwood in the Saleroom Column (Art New Zealand 4) about a November Art Auction I conducted is not correct and misleading as far as my reputation goes.

Your reporter refers to a Rita Angus being incorrectly catalogued which resulted in a high price being paid and the auctioneer misleading the art buyers.

Facts: The painting was catalogued before it arrived at our premises. When it arrived a few days before the sale I realised it was not a Rita Angus. It was announced by me before the painting was sold, to those who were listening, that in my opinion it was not the work of Rita Angus, and it was to be sold just as a watercolour painting. I apologized for it being incorrectly catalogued and even a note was attached to the painting, during viewing, saying it was not a Rita Angus. The painting sold for $150.00. Your reporter calls this a high price for a Rita Angus. If it had been a Rita Angus it would have fetched $600 or more.

I have established a high reputation of excellent standards over 15 years, and although I thoroughly approve your magazine and its high quality, I disapprove of Jane Greenwood's incorrect reporting.


The above letter, slightly abridged, is published at Mr Sloane's request. Ms Greenwood tells us that her comments on the Rita Angus misattribution were made on the basis of reading the catalogue. She did not hear Mr Sloane's remarks at the auction; and as there was no errata slip in the catalogue she came to her conclusion that a mistake had been made. The price of $150 paid for the watercolour catalogued as being by Rita Angus she considered high for that particular painting. It would have been a poor price for a genuine Rita Angus watercolour. Jane Greenwood assures Mr Sloane that her comments were made in an objective spirit, and that she did not mean to imply any intention on his part to mislead.

Photographer upset at underexposure

'Art New Zealand' is a misnomer for a magazine that overwhelmingly emphasizes the medium of painting, although I have heard that New Zealand is one of the last outposts where painting is practised. The customers take what they're given, and as a photographer, I'm complaining.

I'm glad you take photography seriously enough to review Snaps shows. The Laurence Aberhart print Domestic Architecture, Christchurch is monumental, even in the miserable scale of its reproduction.

Your articles on painters respectably entrenched in the History of New Zealand Painting should be invaluable resource material for those unfortunate enough to teach art in our secondary schools. But where in your magazine do we read of the lives and works of young, changing New Zealand artists, probably sorely tempted by ex-patriatism? I would be happy to photograph and interview the sculptor who (derivatively) encases Rangitoto in polythene.

Art as a glossy commodity for rich investors leaves me cold, and, oh yes . . . the paint-brushes in Marti Friedlander's cover photograph of Rita Angus were suspiciously clean.