Gifted works by art giants boost Mahara auction prospects


Mahara Gallery Media release 1 February, 2019




Gallery Administrator Amanda Smart (left) and Director Janet Bayly hold the donated Shane Cotton screen print. The Gretchen Albrecht work is at right.


Late donations of works by two giants of New Zealand contemporary art are a major boost for Mahara Gallery’s exhibition and auction to raise money to provide a home for the nationally-significant Field Collection.

Gallery Director Janet Bayly says in recent days the Gallery has been gifted a screen print by leading Māori artist Shane Cotton and an early painting by Gretchen Albrecht.

“We already have some wonderful works to auction including a Peter McIntyre water-colour, ceramic works by Mirek Smíšek, an early landscape attributed to Frances Hodgkins’ sister Isabel Field and many more,” she said.

“But these late donations up the ante and will almost certainly increase interest in the auction.”.

The Shane Cotton screen print is a gift from the Gallery’s Patron and number one friend, Gillian Lady Deane. The Gretchen Albrecht work, is one of a series of semi-abstract paintings inspired by the landscapes of Auckland’s West Coast beaches, and has been gifted by an anonymous donor.

“With our focus on creating a home for works in the Field Collection which includes 24 by Frances Hodgkins, it’s fitting that both these artists are former University of Otago, Frances Hodgkins Fellows,” said Janet Bayly.

Shane Cotton is considered one of New Zealand’s best-known contemporary artists who weaves history politics and biculturalism into his work.

Like Cotton, Gretchen Albrecht has also exhibited internationally and is celebrated as a pioneer in the development of abstract art in New Zealand.

The auction is scheduled to be held at the Gallery on the evening of Saturday 9 February. Janet Bayly says the latest gifts bring the total number of works to be auctioned to more than 160.

The works have been on exhibition in the Gallery since just before Christmas and Janet Bayly says interest has been intense.

“The momentum has been building through the holiday period. We’ve had more than 1,700 people through since the exhibition opened.

“Many people have come back for another look at works that have caught their eye and a number of bids have already been placed.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the response we’ve had from people gifting works. The result is that there is definitely something there for everyone’s taste.”

Conducting the auction held at 5pm on 9 February at Mahara Gallery will be a man with an international reputation, John Mowbray, the principal of Mowbray Collectables.

Janet Bayly says a reserve price has been set for all works and bidders are encouraged to support the auction in a generous spirit.

The money raised will contribute to a Gallery redevelopment which will create a new home for the Field Collection of 44 art works including 24 by Frances Hodgkins. The collection has been gifted to the Gallery on condition it is upgraded to museum standard.

Among some of the well-known artists represented are ceramics by Mirek Smíšek, Barry Brickell, Chester Nealie, Wilf Wright and Janet Wright; paintings by Peter McIntyre, Allie Eagle, Matt Couper, Tony de Lautour and an early landscape attributed to Isabel Field, sister of Frances Hodgkins; prints and drawings by John Drawbridge, Susan Skerman and Maria Olsen; photographs by Neil Pardington, Tony Whincup, Alan Leatherby, Richard Wootton; and many others.”

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