Tamaki Makaurau – A 1975 work by Christchurch’s Tony Fomison titled What Shall We Tell Them? is expected to reach up to $800,000 at Webb’s art auction in Auckland on March 27.
The auction is the first major art sale of the year and it features an incredible range of artworks by leading artists.
Last September, the late Fomison’s painting The Fugitive sold at auction for $1.525 million, when its estimate was between $600,000 and $700,000.
This magnificent jester painting graced the cover of the 1994 Fomison retrospective publication and it gave the name to both the exhibition and the book. It is one of the finest paintings by one of the most brilliant artists this country has ever known.
Further highlights include stunning suites of paintings by the amazing Ralph Hotere, Bill Hammond, Michael Smither, Geoff Thornley, Don Binney, Evelyn Page and the great Colin McCahon.
Fomison died aged just 50 on the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi.
He was an important post-war visual artist in the country and influenced New Zealand art by incorporating elements of narrative and myth into contemporary art.
Fomison was born in Christchurch, was a student at Linwood High School and studied sculpture at the University of Canterbury’s arts school.
After graduating from art school he went to work as an archaeological assistant at the Canterbury museum then under the directorship of Roger Duff.
Fomison took part in a major survey of Māori rock art in South Canterbury and contributed to the archive with drawings, notes and tracings recording over 300 sites.
His largest work was The Ponsonby Madonna which now hangs in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery. In 1985, Fomison was the inaugural recipient of the Rita Angus Residency.
His painting The Fugitive sold at auction in September last year for $1.525 million, when its estimate was between $600,000 to $700,000.