Invisible Goldie comes out of hiding for art sale after 100 years

A $56 Goldie painting purchased as a wedding gift by a wartime nurse for her husband shortly after returning from combat in World War I, will go on public display for the first time in over 100 years when it is put on display. sale in an art auction in Auckland next month.

Hori Pokai – A sturdy and stubborn leader was painted by Goldie in 1919 and has been in the same family since shortly after the First World War, when Sibyl Carr, who was treating wounded soldiers from the Battle of the Somme in 1916, is said to have dealt directly with Goldie. She paid £30 ($56) for the painting as a gift to her husband, Austin Carr. Goldie is considered one of the finest painters of ancient Maori that New Zealand has produced and the painting for sale is considered by art experts to be one of the finest he has ever produced.

It’s the main feature of a sale of important and rare art at the Parnell International Center for Art, Auckland, on Tuesday (16 November), which will also include balloon girl, one of British street artist Banksy’s most popular prints.

The Goldie has never been seen in public and the sale will be the first time it has been on the market in over 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 he was in France where 300,000 British, French and German soldiers died in the Battle of the Somme and over a million were wounded.

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

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

“Not only is it signed and dated by Goldie, but it also bears the name of the first owner. SA Carr, stamped on the back. Because it has never been on public display since it was completed by Goldie in 1919, it is practically a new find.

Hori Pokai has been described as a “colourful character” and the last Maori in the Thames District to have a full face tattoo. He is thought to have been in his 90s when he died around 1921 – two years after Goldie completed the proposed work the next week.

He was an avid storyteller and often spoke of how his affairs of the heart with women or other men’s partners often brought him near death, including a time when he and an abandoned husband fought with spears.

Mr Thomson said Goldie had painted Pokai about 10 times and A strong and stubborn leader had the potential to be one of the most popular Goldie paintings ever made by bidders.

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

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

The other important work from next week’s sale, balloon girl, by British street artist and graffiti artist Banksy, could sell for up to $350,000, although Mr Thomson said that due to Banksy’s provenance and global popularity, it was also difficult to predict.

It is one of the most significant and sought after works by the unidentified British street artist. This is a copy of the work that 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 chipper built into the frame as it hung on the wall in the auction room.

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

Pest Control, which Banksy set up to verify his work, issued a certificate of authenticity for the work at next week’s sale.

“Banksy’s popularity is a phenomenon in the art world. There’s a very powerful yet subtle message to his works that resonates with his fans in a way we’ve never seen from any artist before.

“We have already generated very strong interest and anticipate very strong tenders for the work of Goldie and Banksy.”

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

“The digital auction platform has proven particularly successful in recent sales under Covid restrictions and buyers are very comfortable bidding from the comfort of their home or office,” said Mr. Thomson.

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