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Five McCahon's in One Night - 11 June 2019

One of the country's last "significant" unseen private collections of contemporary New Zealand art will go under the hammer this week in Wellington.

The collection of Noel and Margaret Dick features 94 works by the likes of Colin McCahon, Rita Angus, Ralph Hotere and Toss Woollaston.

Helena Walker, Dunbar Sloane director of fine and applied art, said the June 12 auction had attracted a lot of attention from New Zealand and overseas from private collectors and institutions.

Dunbar Sloane's director of fine and applied art, Helena Walker, views a Colin McCahon painting - part of the art collection of Margaret and Noel Dick which is to be auctioned on June 12.
"It's very rare to see a collection of this calibre. What makes it unusual is the quality and the size.

"We've been absolutely packed at viewings. We've never seen interest like this in a sale."

Geoff Wise perusing the art collection of Margaret and Noel Dick which is up for auction at Dunbar Sloane. Ninety-four pieces including multiple works by notable NZ artists such as McCahon, Woollaston, Angus and Hotere are included.
The auction included five paintings by McCahon including North Otago Landscape 3 which, Walker said, was a highlight of the collection and estimated to fetch between $400,000 and $600,000.

Walker said it was rare for so many of McCahon's works to come up for sale in the same auction - by coincidence 2019 marks 100 years since the birth of the artist.

The collection - which is predominantly paintings but also features ceramics and glass items - is estimated to bring between $1.4 million and $2m. 

The couple's son, Colin Dick, was unsure where his parents' interest in art came from, having both grown up in relative poverty during the great depression. They began collecting in the 1950s, but started buying contemporary New Zealand artworks in the early 1970s.

Noel died in 1994 however Margaret, who died in 2018, continued adding to the collection until about 2015.

The long-time Lower Hutt based couple collected art because they liked it, not as an investment, he said.

Colin had grown up surrounded by the collection. He was concentrating on getting it sold but said the reality of the collection being broken up would likely hit him following the auction.

His parents' wishes were for the collection to be sold but he and his siblings were free to bid for their favourite pieces if they wished to keep them. He had his eye on three works but declined to name them.

* The Noel and Margaret Dick Art Collection will be auctioned at Dunbar Sloane on June 12 at 7 Maginnity St, Wellington CBD. Proceedings begin at 6pm.