Works by some of Aotearoa’s finest artists are up for grabs this weekend when BNZ auctions off 350 pieces.
The old Bank of New Zealand has amassed an impressive collection of paintings, photographs and ceramics over the decades and now sells them to support community groups.
“The Bank of New Zealand art collection is arguably the most important privately held collection of New Zealand art,” said Charles Ninow, art director at the auction house. Webb.
“What’s special about this collection, besides the quality of the works, are all the big names here – Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, Gordon Walters, the list goes on.”
In the mid-1980s, prominent art director Peter McLeavey was commissioned to collect works of art for display at the BNZ Center in Wellington.
“I think at that time BNZ wanted to make a contribution to the New Zealand art community and support New Zealand artists, so the collection started with 700 pieces and now it’s around 350 pieces,” said the BNZ chief executive Dan Huggins.
BNZ says it will use the proceeds from the auction to set up a community foundation.
“The purpose of the foundation is to support the community and support people doing great things in the community and that will certainly include artists and others,” Huggins said.
BNZ isn’t the only big business to have amassed an art collection. Spark, formerly Telecom, recently auctioned off millions of dollars worth of artwork collected in the 90s and 2000s.
But this selection is even greater.
“There’s over $10 million worth of art here, what it’ll be worth on auction day, the sky’s the limit,” Ninow said.