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Unseen Goldie Comes Out Of Hiding For Art Sale After 100 Years

A $56 Goldie painting bought as a wedding present by a war nurse for her husband shortly after he returned from fighting in World War 1, will be on public display for the first time in more than 100 years when it is offered for sale at an art auction in Auckland next month.

Hori Pokai - A Sturdy Stubborn Chief was painted by Goldie in 1919 and has been in the same family since soon after World War 1 when Sibyl Carr, who nursed wounded soldiers from the Battle of the Somme in 1916, was thought to have dealt directly with Goldie. She paid £30 ($56) for the painting as a gift for her husband, Austin Carr. Goldie is considered one of the finest painters of Maori elders New Zealand has produced and the painting to be sold is considered by art experts to be among the finest he has ever done.

It is the main feature of a sale of Important and Rare Art at the International Art Centre in Parnell, Auckland, on Tuesday (November16) which will also include Girl with a Balloon, one of the most popular prints by British street artist, Banksy.

The Goldie has never been seen in public and the sale will be the first time it has been on the market in more than 100 years. Before the war Sibyl Carr (then Sibyl Greig) and Austin Carr knew each other. Carr enlisted in the Auckland Mounted Rifles and Greig made her own way to England where she enlisted in an Australian army nursing unit.

Carr landed at Gallipoli in 1915 and later served in Palestine. Greig arrived in England in 1916 and within three days of enlisting was in France where 300,000 British, French and German soldiers died in The Battle of the Somme and more than one million were wounded.

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They married in England in 1917. After the war Carr became a successful and respected Auckland businessman.

International Art Centre director Richard Thomson said it was predicted the painting could bring up to $750,000 but that was a conservative estimate and because it was one of the finest paintings Goldie had produced and it had such an interesting provenance, it would easily bring much more.

“Not only is it signed and dated by Goldie, it also has the first owner’s name. S A Carr, stamped on the back. Because it has never been publicly displayed since it was completed by Goldie in 1919, it is virtually a new discovery.”

Hori Pokai has been described as a “colourful character” and the last Maori in the Thames district to have a full facial tattoo. He is thought to have been 90 when he died about 1921 – two years after Goldie completed the work on offer next week.

He was an avid story-teller and would often speak how his affairs of the heart with other men’s wives or partners often brought him close to death, including one time when he and a jilted husband fought it out with spears.

Mr Thomson said Goldie painted Pokai about 10 times and A Sturdy Stubborn Chief had the potential to be one of the most popular Goldie painting ever with bidders.

“It’s not a large painting but it’s an exceptionally fine work by Goldie and some believe it ranks among his very best.”

Goldie died in 1947 and his works regularly sell for record prices.

The other significant work in next week’s sale, Girl with Balloon, by British street and graffiti artist Banksy, could sell for up to $350,000 although Mr Thomson said because of the provenance and global popularity of Banksy it was also difficult to predict.

It is one of the unidentified British street artist’s most important and sought-after works. It is a print of the work which created art history in 2018 when it sold for $1.9 million at Sotheby’s in London moments before it was partially destroyed in a shredder built into the frame as it hung on the auction room wall.

Last month the shredded version, which Banksy renamed Love is in the Bin sold for $35 million, also at Sotheby’s.

Pest Control, which Banksy established to verify his work, has issued a certificate of authenticity for the work in next week’s sale.

“The popularity of Banksy is a phenomenon in the art world. There is a very powerful but subtle message in his works which is resonating with his fans in way we have not seen from any artist before.

“We have already had very strong interest and anticipate very robust bidding for both the Goldie and the Banksy works.”

Under Covid 19 restrictions the sale is an online sale and bids will be taken on the International Art Centre’s bidding platform, either by phone, tablet, desktop or laptop.

“The digital bidding platform has shown in recent sales under Covid restrictions to be particularly effective and buyers are very comfortable bidding from the comfort of their homes or offices,” Mr Thomson said.

© Scoop Media

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