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McCahon Painting Coming Home

26 November 2008

Media release

McCahon Painting Coming Home

Te Papa is pleased to announce that its bid for Colin McCahon's painting, Mondrian's Last Chrysanthemum, 1976, was successful. The painting was purchased for AUD$312,000 (including a 20% buyer's premium).

The painting has been in a private collection in Australia for the past 12 years and was auctioned by Melbourne-based fine arts dealer Deutscher and Hackett yesterday.

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Te Papa's Director Art and Collection Services is thrilled the painting will be returning to New Zealand.

'The series Scared is widely regarded as one of McCahon's signature sets of works and it's wonderful to know that Mondrian's Last Chrysanthemum will form part of the national collection', Mr Mane-Wheoki said today.

Te Papa also owns Scared (I am Scared, I stand up) purchased this year and the Govett-Brewster Gallery has Am I Scared in its collection. The two other paintings from the series are held in private collections in New Zealand and Switzerland.

'This painting is a powerful statement about the threat of nuclear war. It exemplifies some of the major themes in McCahon's work - doubt and hope, life and death - and it is also one of his most beautiful works,' said William McAloon, Te Papa's Curator of Historical New Zealand Art.

The price paid for the painting fell in the middle range of independent valuations commissioned by Te Papa.

Plans are already in motion to put the painting on display to the public as soon as possible.


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