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.
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).