2013 marked the highest turnover ever recorded in the New Zealand art market ($20,318,000). Not since the early 2000s has the market seen such liquidity and firm demand, according to New Zealand auction house Webb’s.
Webb’s secured 60% of the converted top 10 prices achieved in the fine art market. Within this context Webb’s facilitated more fine art sales by value than has any other New Zealand auction house (by 25%) and have achieved another year on year market gain of 20%.
Volumes also increased with 33,300 items being sold through Webb’s in 2013. In addition the art department achieved sales of over $7.6 million, topping the art market by a margin close to $2.0 million, significant results were also achieved across the entire business.
Top results at Webb’s include three of the most significant works by Bill Hammond to have been presented at auction: Farmer’s Market ($328,300), Last Nightjar in Congested Sky ($293,125) and Zoomorphic Lounge ($205,187). These sales all confirm a maturing demand from collectors for this artist’s work. Four high-value sales were made over the year for the work of Charles Goldie: Memories, Wiripine Ninia, a Ngāti Awa Chieftainess ($281,400), The Whitening Snows of Venerable Elder Atama Paparangi ($257,950), One of the Old School, Wiripine Ninia ($240,362) and Ngatirea ($152,425). High-value transactions were also conducted for two large banner works on canvas by Ralph Hotere, with Vidyapati’s Song achieving $222,775.
In addition, a raft of new records was set by Webb’s in 2013 including the highest price to be achieved in half a decade for both a contemporary painting and a work by a living New Zealand artist. Further, the year’s final sale of Important Paintings & Contemporary Art, held in late November, achieved a total in excess of $2,000,000: the highest sale turnover of the season.