Thursday, August 27, 2009

For the record

You can’t keep a good record-breaker down. Back in 1996 New Zealand-born Australian art dealer Martin Browne caused a stir when he raised his hand and left it casually in the air until Colin McCahon’s Let be, Let be was knocked down to him for the astonishing record price of $704,000. Since then a number of McCahon works have fetched prices exceeded that figure in private sales, but last night it was Australia’s turn. If anything demonstrates the growing common ground between the two countries it would be the fact that Australia was considered a safe place to put such an important painting on the block. The final hammer went down at $A785,000 ($NZ955,000) an auction record for the artist being claimed by Deutscher and Hackett who did the business for the 50-year-old painting. No news on the buyer yet, but it would be nice to think it was Te Papa.