Sale of Bin­ney trio ‘very rare’

Auc­tion house over moon to have three of artist’s cel­e­brated bird works in hand

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Three works by one of New Zealand’s most cel­e­brated artists are ex­pected to sell for up to $1.5 mil­lion when they are auc­tioned this month.

The paint­ings by Don Bin­ney, who died in 2012, show off his famed style and love of Auck­land’s West Coast and, in par­tic­u­lar, New Zealand birds.

The works all date to Bin­ney’s most cel­e­brated and sought-af­ter pe­riod of 1965-1970 and are be­ing auc­tioned off by Art+Ob­ject as part of its Im­por­tant Paint­ings and Con­tem­po­rary Art auc­tion on Novem­ber 29.

Other artists fea­tured in the col­lec­tion in­clude Bill Ham­mond, Tony de Lau­tour, Jef­frey Har­ris, Heather Straka, Michael Smither and An­drew McLeod.

Art di­rec­tor for the auc­tion house Ben Plumbly said auc­tion­ing one Bin­ney paint­ing was sig­nif­i­cant in it­self.

Hav­ing three avail­able at the same time was un­heard of.

“This is an un­prece­dented of­fer­ing in­so­far as never be­fore have three such sig­nif­i­cant paint­ings been of­fered to­gether in the same auc­tion.

“We haven’t had a ma­jor Bin­ney paint­ing at auc­tion for a num­ber of years — and then all of a sud­den, three come in.

“It’s just the re­al­ity of what we do in the winds of sup­ply. Some­times the plan­ets align and we get a per­fect storm, which is what’s hap­pened here.”

The paint­ings are all highly valu­able in­di­vid­u­ally, and to­gether are worth be­tween $1.1m to $1.5m.

Pas­toral, Te Henga is worth be­tween $450,000 to $650,000.

Be­yond Ku­ataika was bought by the cur­rent owner from the Peter McLeavey Gallery in 1970 and is val­ued at be­tween $280,000 to $380,000.

The last work, Sum­mer Fern­bird II, is worth be­tween $350,000 and $450,000.

“Taken to­gether, they of­fer a kind of mini-ret­ro­spec­tive of Bin­ney’s iconic bird paint­ings,” Plumbly said.

It is ex­pected the works will be bought by a pri­vate col­lec­tor or col­lec­tors in New Zealand.

“We get truly sig­nif­i­cant paint­ings that are about the na­tion’s his­tory and her­itage and that is gen­uinely pretty spe­cial and rare,” Plumbly said.

“We do love the idea that they might go into a pub­lic in­sti­tu­tion — like Auck­land Art Gallery Toi o Ta¯ maki or Te Papa Ton­garewa. But the sim­ple re­al­ity is that in the last few years, we’re see­ing less of the in­sti­tu­tions buy­ing paint­ings at this type of level of value.

“That’s just the re­al­ity of the cur­rent times, re­ally, and their fund­ing sit­u­a­tion.

“So it is un­likely that they will be pur­chased by a pub­lic col­lec­tion and more likely, I would think, that they would be bought by a se­ri­ous pri­vate col­lec­tor of con­tem­po­rary New Zealand paint­ings.”

Photo / Fo­to­press

Don Bin­ney. Be­yond Ku­ataika (in­set) was last bought in 1970.

Pas­toral, Te Henga.

Sum­mer Fern­bird II.

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