A painting believed to be an original by one of New Zealand's most famous artists has been recovered after it was stolen in a Hamilton burglary.
Hamilton police confirmed on Monday the painting, titled Sleep 'tis a Gentle Thing, by New Zealand artist Charles Frederick Goldie, was found in the weekend, a statement said.
The painting was reported stolen in a burglary from a Hamilton East property between December 27, 2020 and January 3, 2021. It was estimated to be worth well over $500,000.
While the painting is yet to be thoroughly examined, police said it appears to be undamaged.
The last major artwork by Charles Frederick Goldie was A Noble Relic of a Noble Race, which sold at auction for $1,377,600. This video was first published in April 2016.
Hamilton police said they had been continuing to investigate and as a result of those investigations, they found the painting in the weekend.
The owners had been informed and were very happy to hear the painting had been recovered, the statement said.
Three men, aged 41, 45 and 49, have been jointly charged with burglary in relation to the theft of the painting and other items.
Looking at a photo of the stolen painting, Webb's auction house head of art Charles Ninow said earlier the piece appeared to be an original worth “well over half a million dollars”.
Ninow said the last time the original piece was sold was in 2012, at a different auction house, going for $280,000
The increase in price was due to fewer and fewer Goldie paintings being put on the market, he said.
“They are amazing investments. They just go up and up and up each year. Most people who are buying them are not buying them to sell to make a profit.”
The stolen painting, of Ngāti Maru and Ngāti Paoa chief Hori Pokai, was done in 1933, when Goldie was aged 63.
Goldie's most expensive piece, A Noble Relic of a Noble Race, of Ngāti Manawa chief Wharekauri Tahuna, sold for $1,337,687 at an auction in Auckland in 2016.
Police said art theft was on the rise after they recovered more than 30 art pieces which were stolen from several homes in the Coromandel area in the past few months.