TVNZ portrait auction opens wallets for Starship Foundation

TVNZ’s digital channel – TVNZ 6 – has raised nearly $40,000 for the Starship Foundation through an auction of portraits of well-known New Zealanders painted by Stephen ‘Marty’ Welch for the channel’s art series The Sitting.

Portraits of Lucy Lawless, Kevin Milne, Luke Thompson, Mike Hosking, Buckwheat, Suzanne Paul, Pam Corkery, Ian Mune Jan Maree, Sunday Holiday, Jacob Rajan, Tau Maukia and Ian Stables went under the hammer at the auction, held last night at the SOCA gallery in Auckland.

The highest bid of the night was for the Lucy Lawless portrait, which went for $11,000.

All the portraits were painted as part of the TVNZ 6 show The Sitting, in which highly-regarded New Zealand portraitist Marty Welch engages his subjects in conversation while he sketches and paints – exploring their pasts and revealing new information about them.

The programme is produced for TVNZ 6 by Top Shelf Productions and goes to air on Wednesdays at 8.30pm.

TVNZ’s General Manager of Digital Services, Eric Kearley, says last night’s charity auction was a huge success and a highly appropriate way of linking art, television and service to the community.

“This kind of television has a special role to play in our society, and we are absolutely delighted that we’ve been able to assist the Starship Foundation through the calibre of the artist, the merit of the programme and the willingness of high profile New Zealanders to take part in it.”

Starship Foundation Chief Executive Andrew Young said he had not seen such ferocious and excited bidding all year. “The response to the auction was nothing short of amazing and I am so grateful for the huge generosity shown.”

All the portraits will now hang for two months in the National Portrait Gallery in Wellington before going to their new owners. Loaning them to an exhibition at the Gallery during December and January was a condition of purchase.

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