Goldie painting stolen in Waikato burglary worth ‘well over $1m’

Sleep ’tis a Gentle Thing’ by New Zealand artist CF Goldie has been stolen along with numerous other unique works of art and antiques. Photo / NZ police

The country’s largest dealer in Goldie paintings says a work showing a late Rangatira Māori who was reported stolen today would be worth well over a million dollars.

Waikato Police are looking for information related to the break-in, which includes a painting titled Sleep ’tis a Gentle Thing by Ngāti Maru and Ngāti Paoa boss Hori Pokai by New Zealand artist Charles Frederick Goldie.

Police believe it occurred in the Hamilton East area between December 27, 2020 and January 3, 2021.

Other works of art and antiques were stolen, including a cutlery set from Koch & Bergfeld.

Goldie’s most expensive piece, A Noble Relic of a Noble Race, by Wharekauri Tahuna, head of Ngāti Manawa, was sold for $ 1,337,687 at auction at the International Art Center in Auckland in 2016.

Director Richard Thomson said he sold another version of the stolen painting in 2008 for a then-record $ 454,000.

“So that’s a million dollars plus artwork in the market today. I’ve sold dozens of Goldies, and that’s a really good example of his work that has all of the characteristics.

“I’m pretty worried about that [the burglary]. These are extremely important national treasures. Owners are guardians, but the nation really owns them. “

The stolen painting was likely painted between 1933 and 1938 when Goldie was in her sixties.

While Goldie’s previous work tended to fetch the highest prices, Thomson said the 2016 record was painted in 1941.

Despite the high rating, Thomson said he thought it was “worthless” in the hands of thieves.

“There’s absolutely no market for it in the wrong hands. It’s a stupid thing and all you get is bad karma.

“My advice is to return as soon and safely as possible.”

Webb’s art director Charles Ninow said another version of this painting was sold at another auction house for $ 280,000 in 2012.

He believed in today’s market that it was “easily worth more than $ 500,000”.

“I remember it was above average at the time it was sold, but the market has gotten pretty wild for Goldie since then. His art is just one of the things that goes up in value every year.”

Sleep 'tis a Gentle Thing' by New Zealand artist CF Goldie has been stolen along with numerous other unique works of art and antiques.  Photo / NZ policeSleep ’tis a Gentle Thing’ by New Zealand artist CF Goldie has been stolen along with numerous other unique works of art and antiques. Photo / NZ police

Ninow said he thought it would be rated a little lower than previous works due to Goldie’s age at the time.

“When he was younger in his career, he was in a better state of mind and painted these really detailed pictures. As he got older, they got a little more poetic, looser, and that can affect the value.”

To have stolen such a painting would be of great importance not only for the owners, but also for Māori, who viewed these depictions of Tūpuna, ancestors, as “the embodiment of the wairua, soul, of the sitter”.

“Having stolen it and not knowing its whereabouts is a great loss for Aotearoa, for our culture and our nation.”

The painting titled The painting entitled “Lady With Red Hat” was also stolen from the Hamilton address. Photo / NZ police

Ninow said it was likely that the burglars knew what they were doing.

“His works are instantly recognizable, he’s a household name like Colin McCahon. Everyone knows them and they are in great demand. If you’ve ever seen one in the flesh, it just hits you differently.”

However, Ninow believed it was “impossible” to sell underground.

“The New Zealand art market is bigger than most people think, but it is still small and there is no way to sell it through traditional channels. Once a work is known to be of dubious origin, no one will touch it.

“With stolen works, we often never know what will happen to them. They move through these underground channels and we never see them again, but I really hope that doesn’t happen and that we can see them again.”

Another painting stolen.  Photo / NZ policeAnother painting stolen. Photo / NZ police

The police are appealing to the public for information or possible sightings of the stolen items.

“These are obviously very special heirlooms and we would like to be able to return them to the owner as soon as possible,” said Constable Ben Monk of the Hamilton Tactical Crime Unit.

“If you have any information please call the police on 105 and cite the file 210103/2961.

“Alternatively, you can contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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