Six paintings by New Zealand artist Charles Frederick Goldie from the collection of Mainfreight co-founder Neil Graham will appear at auction in March.
The unique collection of Māori portraits will be sold by New Zealand’s leading auction house, Art+Object, on March 25.
Goldie, who was considered the finest painter of kaumātua and people of importance, died in 1947 aged 76.
Neil Graham, who was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013, spent 32 years at Mainfreight, joining Bruce Plested as co-managing director of the then-small firm in 1979.
He stepped down from its board in 2011 due to illness and died in 2015, aged 71.
An Art+Object statement said later in his life Graham became best known for his extraordinary generosity and philanthropy.
“Art lovers will instantly recognise the Martin Creed work Graham gifted to the city of Christchurch which adorns the side of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, a bold and optimistic assertion for the people of Christchurch in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2011,” they said.
Assembled between 2005 and 2013, the auction will focus solely on Graham’s collection and will comprise just six extraordinary paintings by Goldie.
“The collection will be exhibited in Graham’s hometown of Christchurch in March and a catalogue will be produced to mark the occasion,” said Art+Object.
Further details about the auction and its paintings will be announced this week.
Last year, one of Goldie’s most historically significant paintings was repatriated to New Zealand after selling for a record $1.8 million.
Reverie, Ena te Papatahi, a Ngapuhi Chieftainess (Ina Te Papatahi, Ngāpuhi), was painted in 1916 and earned the title of the most significant painting by Goldie to appear at auction in Australia.
The original owner, Henry Bruce Morton, acquired the painting on June 17, 1916 for just £26.50.
Just over a century later, the painting was purchased by private collectors Chris and Virginia Anderson for a new world auction record for Goldie, at A$1,718,182 ($1.83m).
“I started doing some research about the painting and I saw there was a bit of controversy about the way it’s been held out of the country to enhance its wealth to overseas collectors, so I thought it’d be a good one to bring back home,” Chris Anderson told the Herald.