New technology a global hit in art sales during Covid lockdown

New Zealand’s Covid 19 level 4 lockdown has not deterred investors from buying artwork, according to one of New Zealand’s leading art auction houses.

The International Art Center, in Parnell, Auckland, has achieved numerous record-breaking awards for works by artists such as revered New Zealand artist CF Goldie and world-renowned British street artist Banksy and has held two online auctions since the country left. in level 4 containment on August 17.

Director Richard Thomson said the company used the lockdown to further develop its online auction platform with an America-based software company and the response to the two online auctions during the lockdown was incredible.

“We are the first auction house in the country to offer auctions on any device, such as a tablet, laptop, desktop, cell phone or phone and the response we have received from them. buyers was huge.

“We have spent countless hours fine-tuning the technology during the lockdown and due to these technological advancements our next auction will likely be one of the busiest online auctions New Zealand has seen.

“It put New Zealand art on the world stage. When we have work by globally significant artists like Banksy, it also draws people to New Zealand art and it wouldn’t happen without this technology.

Mr Thomson said the first installment of 174 New Zealand artwork from the David Silich Collection of 750 Works of Art will be offered in Auckland next week (October 12) regardless of the lockdown level. He was supposed to bring in over a million dollars.

“The changes to alert levels announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden yesterday (Monday) still mean that we cannot hold auctions in our Parnell auction rooms and we don’t know when that will change, but the sale auction will continue.

“I will be on the platform with my hammer and the auction will take place in an empty hall, but due to the significant advancements in our auction technology, we are expecting a global audience and it will be very easy for people to bid. from anywhere in the world, by landline, cell phone, tablet or laptop, ”said Mr. Thomson.

David Silich, an international businessman born in Whangarei in 1944 and died in Switzerland in 2018, was passionate about collecting New Zealand art.

He has been described as a “mercurial figure,” but only started buying New Zealand art in the last decade, when he returned to New Zealand each year before returning home to Canada. Swiss.

For many years, before starting to collect New Zealand art, he had assembled a large collection of medals, medallions and antiques in his office in Switzerland.

Art historian Linda Tyler, David and Corina Silich associate professor of museums and cultural heritage at the University of Auckland, said he was familiar with the careers of many New Zealand artists and generally aimed to acquire a range of works by each artist in different media. and different topics.

She said her collection was assembled in a remarkably short period of time but that it “stands out for its range and depth, with emerging and established artists represented.

“The Silich Collection shows a singular ability to provide insight into the careers of many less famous artists, as well as to offer intriguing and unusual examples of works by some famous names. It’s a collection built on the love of art and the pleasure of being surrounded by its beauty, ”said Ms. Tyler.

Mr Thomson said the Silich collection was one of the largest collections of New Zealand art ever offered in New Zealand.

“There are some very interesting pieces and we have already had a very high level of interest. It’s a phenomenal collection. After next week with 174 works in the catalog, the rest of the 750 works in the collection will also be offered online.

To note: The sale starts at 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday 12 October at the International Art Center, 202 Parnell Road, Auckland. Under level 3 lockdown, the sale will be online only with cell phone or telephone auctions or mail order auctions via

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