Art enquiries & identification 

We are able to answer a range of enquiries about art works and artists. These include:

Information on the holdings of art works in Te Papa’s collection

We can provide lists of works by particular artists from our collection database. You can also access them online. Note that they may not all appear as the cataloguing is a continuing process.

Browse our art collection online

Requests by researchers to view items not on display

An appointment will need to be made well in advance to access stored items. Some of them may be viewable online.

Browse our art collection online

Information on New Zealand artists

Please consult the New Zealand art section of your public library before approaching us. (For lesser-known nineteenth century artists a good source is Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: a guide and handbook by Una Platts, 1980. The Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Artists: painters, printmakers, sculptors by Kate McGahey, 2000, also offers a basic entry on many artists.)

Te Papa’s reference library, Te Aka Matua, has a good selection of books on New Zealand artists and is open to the public. Files of press clippings, exhibition invitations, and other material of interest to the researcher about individual New Zealand artists are also available at Te Aka Matua.

Offers to gift or sell art works to Te Papa

If you wish to show Te Papa staff works you think may be suitable for donation, an appointment is essential. The best way to approach us is to send a photograph, either digitally or by post, of the works you would like us to acquire. Please note, however, that we don’t automatically accept gifts. Any works sent to Te Papa unsolicited will be returned with their packaging unopened.

Requests to identify and date works

A photo is the best way to approach us for identifications and to date works. If you wish to bring a work in for us to view, you will need to make an appointment. However, it is usually difficult to provide much information without an artist’s signature.

Enquiries about any of the above should, in the first instance, be made to the Enquiry Centre or by writing to the Senior Curator, Art and Visual Culture.

Valuations and estimates

Please also note that we are unable to provide valuations, estimates of value, or authentications, as this compromises our independent status as a public museum. For these sorts of services, consult a dealer gallery, antique dealer, or specialist auction house.