Tretchikoff and Pierneef for Africa With a few ex­cep­tions, two promi­ment re­cent auc­tions of art­work from Africa and else­where fetched lower prices than ex­pected. This of­fered won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties to buy­ers.

Finweek English Edition - - ON THE MONEY -

prom­i­nent auc­tion houses on two con­ti­nents of­fered artworks from Africa on auc­tion at the end of May. Strauss & Co of­fered 122 works of art on its auc­tion Im­por­tant South African and In­ter­na­tional Art in Jo­han­nes­burg, and Bon­hams had works of art from Nige­ria, Ghana, Mozam­bique, Zim­babwe, Su­dan and Ethiopia on its re­cent Africa Now auc­tion in Lon­don.

It was Strauss & Co’s first auc­tion in Jo­han­nes­burg since the death of its auc­tion­eer, art ex­pert and co-di­rec­tor, Stephan Welz, last year. As in the case of its auc­tion in Cape Town ear­lier this year, Strauss & Co ac­quired the ser­vices of Dendy Eas­ton, a Bri­tish auc­tion­eer who, after a long as­so­ci­a­tion with Sotheby’s, also be­came fa­mous as one of the ex­perts on the BBC tele­vi­sion pro­gramme, An­tiques Road­show.

The works of for­eign artists fared well. A colour litho­graph by Marc Cha­gall, Les Ado­les­cents (1975), fetched R380 000 – R200 000 more than the ex­pected max­i­mum. The Yel­low Sail, a paint­ing in oil on can­vas of the Bri­tish pain­ter, Ed­ward Seago, went for R950 000, close on a mil­lion rand. The ex­pected max­i­mum was R600 000.

Shortly be­fore the end of the auc­tion, Spray, a sculp­ture by the Amer­i­can Harry Ber­toia sold for R130 000, which was R40 000 more than the es­ti­mated max­i­mum price.

But most of the pieces, with the ex­cep­tion of those by Pierneef, Gwelo Good­man, Wal­ter Bat­tiss, Peter Clarke, Robert Hod­gins, Ce­cil Skotnes, Lu­cas Sit­hole and a few oth­ers, did not fare as well, which of­fered buy­ers a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity.

If your bud­get al­lowed you to spend mil­lions, you could have had a bargain with an early Irma Stern, Still

for which the es­ti­mated max­i­mum was R1.3m. This paint­ing was sold for R900 000. This still life dates from 1933, the year of Stern’s first ex­hi­bi­tion in Pre­to­ria.

Another Stern, which was de­picted on the cover of the cat­a­logue –

(1943) – fetched a mere R4.5m. The es­ti­mated price was be­tween R5m and R7m.

You could have had a bargain with an early Irma Stern, which the es­ti­mated max­i­mum was R1.3m. This paint­ing was sold for R900 000.

Vladimir Tretchikoff, 1959, oil on can­vas (74.5 x 64 cm).

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