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Hammond painting to come to the open market

Media release – April 2, 2008

Greatest painting by Bill Hammond to come to the open market will confirm his art world status next week

Bill Hammond’s acclaim as one of New Zealand’s greatest living artists should be confirmed in Auckland next week when a major work by the artist sets a new record price.

``This painting is very likely to set a new record price for the artist,’’ Webb’s managing director Sophie Coupland said today.

``The current record for Hammond sits at $240,000 and this work is set to fetch between $250,000 and $350,000.’’

Titled Fortified Gang Headquarters and dating from 1996, the work is monumental in scale and comes the beginning of his famous Bird series. The work depicts his well known human/bird forms within a rich emerald green bush setting.

Public interest in Hammond’s work has increased since the major touring exhibition, Jingle Jangle Morning, held last year. The exhibition was an opportunity for collectors to see much of Hammond’s work in a tightly curated exhibition, allowing many to witness the depth and breadth of his work for the first time.

The ‘bird paintings’ were inspired by a visit to the Auckland Islands in 1989, a place where birds reign supreme, unhindered by predators or man, in a kind of paradise lost. So untouched is the location, Hammond likened his visit to being like traveling backwards in time.

He has said of his Auckland islands visit: ``I saw a New Zealand before there were men, women, dogs and possums. When you see it without the people, you know that the soulful, beautiful thing about New Zealand is the land.’’

Hammond became interested in 19th century ornathologist Sir Walter Lawry Buller’s contribution to the extinction of many native bird species in the name of science. This work is masterpiece of New Zealand painting.


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