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Te Reo Irirangi Raukawa


Portrait of unknown Māori Chief sells for record price

01 December, 2017








A rare portrait of an unknown Māori chief that is said to have been drawn before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi was sold for a record price of $158,000 at the Mossgreen-Webb’s auction of Important Paintings and Contemporary Art in Parnell on Wednesday night.

This portrait of the Otago Chief was drawn by German-born artist Charles Rodius in 1835

An unnamed New Zealand public collection snapped up the Rodius after being passed on to a private collection in Melbourne.

The portrait was expected to sell for $70,000 - $90,000 but instead it sold for nearly twice the amount. This is the first portrait completed by Rodius to have ever been sold in New Zealand.

The chief’s identity in the portrait is unknown but the mataora on his face at such a youthful age suggest he was of high rank, exceptional and fearsome.

Sophie Coupland, Head of Art ate Mossgreen-Webb says, “It's been a privilege to present a work of such historical and artistic significance for sale, and we are absolutely delighted to have secured an excellent home, where it will be on view to the public, here in New Zealand."