Christchurch-based art lover Andrew Douk purchased this painting in Melbourne in 2020.Photo / Provided
“This is Goldie.”
It was the intuition of art collector Andrew Douk when he first turned to portraiture at an auction in Melbourne in June 2020.
“It immediately caught my eye,” Doak said.
I told the Rotorua Daily Post.
Doak turned his gut sensation into a quest to find out what the subject of the portrait was.
“I saw it signed.”
Doak was convinced at the auction that the portrait belonging to the “School of New Zealand” was an original painting by the famous artist Charles F. Goldie.
Since then, Christchurch-based Doak has been on a mission to prove the importance of painting and reconnect the subject of portraiture with his history.
“This is a picture that has been vaguely lost for a hundred years,” Doak said.
“There was no doubt [for me].. I saw it purely in the light of day, and thought it was more than it was intended. It was a feeling of the intestines.
“I wanted to take it back to New Zealand. I felt it was important.”
Goldie was born in Auckland in 1870. After he studied art in Paris, he returned to New Zealand and died in 1947.
Goldie is best known for portraits of Corua and Queer. His first painting of this kind was from Mary Fale Papa in Rotorua in 1902.
Doak believes that the portraits he purchased could be important to the people of Te Arawa.
His first clue was in the frame of the portrait, where Doak found the label and exhibition number.
“The label was from Charles Goldie’s frame maker,” Dok said.
“The signature is consistent [with] Charles Goldie.Exhibition label [number 15] It was from 1917 and the frame was original at that time. “
According to Doak’s research, Goldie exhibited a painting titled Lostin Thought by Ngaheke, the chief of the Arawa tribe in Christchurch, in 1917. The portrait was number 15 in the exhibition.
“Why couldn’t you?” Doak said.
Doak brought the painting to Neil Roberts, a retired curator and owner of Independent Art Valuations Ltd.
Roberts has been a curator for 27 years at the Robert McDagal Art Gallery and the Christchurch Art Gallery Tepna Owaiwetu.
“Sure, there was an area of painting revealed by Goldie’s hands,” Roberts said.
“That convinced me that it was originally Goldie.”
Roberts said the painting had undergone “substantial cleaning and reconstruction” throughout his life, so there were some reservations at first.
“But I looked at it carefully.
“Goldy had the quality of being able to lift the texture of the face from the picture frame to some extent.”
Roberts stated that these qualities could be seen in the paintings that Dok purchased, and that the paintings were also at the right time.
“I’ve seen a lot of work over the years. You can get a sense of whether the work is genuine.
“So you start from that and then you try to prove that you are wrong.”
Roberts gave Dok a genuine letter saying that the portrait was the work of artist Charles Frederick Goldie, to the best of his expertise.
Independent Art Valuations Ltd estimates Doak’s paintings insured for $ 455,000.
The record selling price for Goldie’s portrait at the auction was set on Tuesday night when the portrait of Kamariela te How Takiri Falepapa was sold for $ 1.8 million.
Earlier records were set by Hori Pokai-a rugged stubborn chief who had been hidden for 100 years before being sold for $ 1.7 million in November.
Both record-breaking paintings were sold by Auckland’s International Art Center, the country’s most experienced art auction house.
Richard Thomson, director of the center, said he would not be dealing with Dok’s paintings at this stage for his own reasons.
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Doak said he was more interested in learning about the subject of portraiture.
“I just want to complete the story. I want to know who this guy is, where he came from, and what his name was.”
Doak said he spoke with a curator of Pacific art at the National Gallery in Australia.
“”[I was told] His moco could suggest that he is a chief or a very high-ranking person, and the marking panel on the side of his head is much more if exactly duplicated by Goldie. Will tell you about. “
Doak said he hopes that drawing the public’s attention to this painting will help discover members of the chief’s family.
Monty Morrison, president of the Rotorua Museum, said anything was possible when asked if this painting could really belong to Te Arawa Corua.
“At first glance, he may be a descendant of Te Arawa. Nevertheless, the discovery of this work is certainly an exciting development for his Whānau and his descendants.
“It’s good to set a rating from our own art historians and Wakapapa experts.”