May 26, 2022

New Zealand’s National Library Duped by $75k Forgery

From TVNZ:

The Alexander Turnbull Library was warned a historic painting was forgery, but bought it anyway.

The national heritage collector paid $75,000 at auction in 2013 for the portrait of a Maori man, identified as Hoani or Hamiora Maioha, signed G. Lindauer.

[$75,000 New Zealand Dollars converts to approx. $51,000 U.S. Dollars].


Before making the purchase, Victoria University colonial art expert Roger Blackley had told the library it was “strange” and a forgery.

But Turnbull’s own experts thought the painting was genuine.

“We backed our own judgment in the face of an assessment from an external expert,” chief librarian Chris Szekely said.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: “Turnbull Library admits it bought a fake Lindauer” (via Radio New Zealand)

The library put the portrait in its catalogue and also provided an image of it to the New Zealand Listener in 2014 for a major article on New Zealand portraiture.

However, earlier this year Auckland Art gallery conservator, Sarah Hillary analysed the painting as part of her preparation for a book on Lindauer. Her forensic study indicated that there was no way the work could be a Lindauer as it contained titanium dioxide, which was not available as an artist’s pigment when Lindauer was painting. She also pointed out that the brushwork was quite rough compared with the careful brushwork of Lindauer.

Read the Complete Article/Listen to Radio Report

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.