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Transpower could make hundreds of thousands from its art collection Found in: Stuff - 4 December 2017

A stellar collection of artwork is being put up for sale in Wellington by its corporate owner Transpower, which has moved premises.

Fifty-one pieces including works by New Zealand art legends Gordon Walters, Don Binney and Colin McCahon are due to be auctioned by Dunbar Sloane on Wednesday and Thursday.

The collection has an estimated value of between $100,000 and $175,000, and was amassed during the years when Transpower was the New Zealand Electricity Department.

Transpower chief executive Alison Andrew said that the collection had not been added to in over 20 years.

​With the company's move into its new premises in Wellington's Boulcott St, it did not seem right to hold onto the works.

"We felt it was no longer appropriate for us to keep an art collection of this size and that the pieces would be better enjoyed by art enthusiasts."

The most expensive piece is expected to be one by Robert Ellis called Nga taonga (1993) which is expected to fetch $17,500 to $25,000.

Other notable artists in the collection include Pat Hanly, Gretchen Albrecht, Toss Woollaston, Nigel Brown, Max Gimblett, Robert Ellis, John Pule, Mervyn Williams and Dick Frizzell

Transpower's decision follows the sale of another government department-owned art collection by New Zealand Post last year, which fetched over $200,000 although it was smaller in size.

The proceeds of Transpower's pieces will go back into the company and indirectly to electricity consumers, Andrew said.

Transpower's move in the old Dominion Post building in Boulcott St last month allowed the company to bring all its staff, which were previously in two building, under one roof.

A spokeswoman said the new building used a lot of glass and did not have a lot of wall space for the art works.

"Some of it was put in our old building and some was kept in storage."

A public pre-viewing of the art is available on Tuesday.

- Stuff