Auction Time

These two photographs of mine are in an auction catalogue, published by Art + Object in Auckland. The auction takes place on April 17th.

The top photo, on the catalogue cover, was taken in 1977. Christine Mathieson was a stylish and striking red-haired young woman who I had the good fortune to meet at the time. I think that she may have been at Elam Art School, but can’t check because unfortunately we have lost touch. She readily agreed to sit for some portraits and this was the one that I chose.

I didn’t print up many at the time, perhaps half a dozen. I may own one or two still, somewhere in my archives, but this one doesn’t belong to me. I don’t know where it has come from because, rightly so, auctioneers do not disclose that information.

The suggested price on it is $7000-$10000.

Sacred Heart is another photo that has appeared in this auction. This chasuble, worn by Catholic priests during mass, and inspired by ancient Roman dress, had been saved by master bookbinder Michael O’Brien. He discovered that this garment had been sold to a fancy dress firm and incensed by the sacrilege, managed to rescue it. I have for a long time had great admiration for Michael, and his craftmanship. He is one of the most respected bookbinders in New Zealand and at the time I was having some work done by him. I particularly admired the policy that he had of being bribable. If you brought along a bottle of Single Malt Whiskey, you would move up the queue. It was quite simple really, the better the bottle, the higher you rose.

The chasuble has great significance for me. I was brought up a strict Catholic and to see celibate, educated men dressing in these soft, silken, embroidered garments made a lasting impression on me. Equally important was that they dedicated their life to a non-material ideal. For me they were like the archetypal artists, much changed now of course, where art is increasingly seen as a career, not as when I was young and inspired by these priests, a calling or a vocation.

I never printed many of these photos which is one of the reasons why the estimate on the sale price of this print being, $9000-$14000.