N. Otago McCahon sells for $717,000

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A painting depicting North Otago by one-time resident Colin McCahon sold at auction last week for $717,000.

The painting was part of the Noel and Margaret Dick Collection auctioned by Dunbar Sloane in Wellington. The collection also contained four other McCahon works.

By far the most valuable was “North Otago Landscape 3”, signed by the artist in 1967. Its listing price was $400,000 to $600,000.

The catalogue notes said it was “one of the finest examples of McCahon’s North Otago landscapes, noted for their simple spatial division of foreground plain, line of rolling hills and sky with a harsh tonal light”.

There were more than 25 in the series, several of which are now in major public galleries overseas.

In his invitation to the 1967 exhibition in which they were first shown, McCahon wrote they were based on places he had seen and known, and “most certainly about my long love affair with North Otago as a unique and lonely place”.

McCahon’s “Cross V” sold for $191,000, within its catalogue guide of $180,000 to $260,000.

“Kauri”, a charcoal drawing on paper, made $107,000, higher than the catalogue figures of $60,000 to $100,000.

“Waterfall” fetched $52,000. The catalogue suggested $50,000 to $80,000.

One of McCahon’s works did not sell at the auction – a watercolour wash and water-based crayon on paper called “Kaipara Flats Written”. It was listed at $70,000 to $100,000.

The four McCahons successfully auctioned were all bought by “private New Zealanders”, Dunbar Sloane director of fine and applied art Helena Walker said.

“I am afraid we can’t divulge any further information than that.”