BNZ to auction off multimillion-dollar art collection

Source: 1News

Works by some of Aotearoa's biggest artists are up for grabs this weekend when the BNZ auctions off 350 pieces.

The former Bank of New Zealand amassed an impressive collection of paintings, photographs and ceramics over decades and is now selling them off to support community groups.

“The Bank of New Zealand art collection is without doubt the most significant collection of New Zealand art in private hands,” said Charles Ninow, Director of Art at Webb’s auction house.

“What's special about this collection, apart from the quality of the works, is all the big names here - Colin McCahon,Ralph Hotere, Gordon Walters, the list goes on.”

In the mid-1980s, distinguished art director Peter McLeavey was commissioned to collect art for display at Wellington’s BNZ Centre.

“I think during that time, the BNZ wanted to provide a contribution to the New Zealand art community and support New Zealand artists, so the collection started at 700 pieces and it's now around 350 pieces,” BNZ chief executive Dan Huggins said.

The BNZ says it will use the auction proceeds to establish a community foundation.

“The purpose of the foundation is to support the community and support people who are doing great things in the community and that'll certainly include artists and others,” Huggins said.

The BNZ isn’t the only big corporate to have amassed a collection of art. Spark, formerly Telecom, recently auctioned off millions of dollars in art collected in the 90s and 2000s.

But this selection is even bigger.

“There is over $10 million worth of art here, what it’s going to be worth on auction day, the sky is the limit,” Ninow said.