31 Mar 2014

Rare McCahon makes an appearance

11:35 am on 31 March 2014

Hundreds of art lovers have visited Colin McCahon's Titirangi bach to see a little-known painting by the artist - one that has never been registered in the official catalogue of the late artist's works.

Colin McCahon's work 'Black White Landscape'.

Colin McCahon's work 'Black White Landscape'. Photo: SUPPLIED

It was one of five paintings on display at the bach - a heritage site - before being auctioned next Thursday. Expected to fetch up to $140,000, until recently it has been in a private collection.

The black-and-white painting looks like a lunar landscape; auctioneer Ben Plumbly describes it as a severe, minimal classic. "It's very tough, it's very raw, it's very elemental," he says.

The chair of the trust that manages the heritage site, Naomi McCleary, says being able to bring the painting back to where it was made is wonderful.

"On the wall of this cottage," she says, "we've got a display of little tiny postage-stamp images of all the work that McCahon did in the 50s in this house - and this work is not on that display.

"And yet it was painted here - so it really has been off-grid for all that time."