Henry Newrick — What is my artwork worth?
Henry Newrick is the director of Heritage Art Auctions in Whanganui. He is also the author of New Zealand Art Auction Records, published in 1973. An updated version is in production. Last week we announced that Henry is prepared to undertake simple valuations, based on current auction prices, for any artworks that you might have. The response was quite overwhelming. It seems many of our readers have paintings and prints with no idea as to what they are worth. Henry has agreed to respond to all inquiries but Midweek only has space for some of the more interesting ones. Below are three recent inquiries and Henry’s reply. John Gully June came to my gallery. She’d been referred by a local bookseller. She had what appeared to be a very attractive watercolour by the famous 19th century NZ artist John Gully (1819-1888). It was beautifully matted and framed. If an original Gully (and she wasn’t sure), its value would have been in the order of $5000-$10,000. It looked plausible but it could also have been a very fine print. Accordingly, I looked through a large magnifying glass and although not apparent to the naked eye, it was clearly a fine print with a market value of $50-$100. If you are in doubt as to whether a watercolour is just that or a print, view a section through a strong magnifier such as a jeweller’s eyepiece. If you see a series of dots (called screen) you know you have a print. The finer the dots, the higher quality the print is. Albin Martin Adrian contacted me. He had a work by Albin Martin (1813-1888) who died the same year as John Gully (above. In this case, the work was a small oil on board and had come down through the family, one of Adrian’s ancestors being a Martin. I put the value at between $2500-$3000 in today’s market. The highest price ever paid for an oil painting by Albin Martin was $35,000 for a very large oil on canvas back in 2004 and the lowest was $300 in 2012. Martin was also an accomplished watercolourist. H Pollock Claire sent me a photo of a very large and attractive oil painting of Lake Te Anau by an artist called H Pollock. It was painted in 1902. Despite its obvious quality I could find no reference anywhere to this artist in any of the usual sources, including Una Platt’s excellent book, Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists — which gives the biographies of over 1200 New Zealand artists from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Accordingly, on its intrinsic value I estimated $500-$750 or possibly more at auction on a good day. ■ If you have any paintings, watercolours, prints, engravings etc and are not sure what they are worth in today’s market you may email Henry@HenryNewrick.com with details of the artwork you want valued. For this he requires the artist’s name; type of work (oil, watercolour, print etc); size and if possible a photo. If you don’t have an email address you may post the information to: Henry Newrick, Heritage Art, PO Box 4085, Whanganui 4541. When sending an enquiry please include a contact phone number in case he has any questions. All enquiries will be acknowledged and some of the more interesting ones will be published in this column. If you’d like a free PDF copy of Henry’s original New Zealand Art Auction Records, with artist biographies, just join the Heritage Art mailing list at HeritageArtNZ.com and you will be sent a download link.