There’s still life in art mar­ket, says auc­tion vet­eran Welz

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - AUCTIONS -

SOUTH Africa’s art auc­tion mar­ket has picked up over the past five years, with art­works and paint­ings by prom­i­nent artists fetch­ing record prices, says an art ex­pert and auc­tion­eer.

Stephan Welz, an auc­tion­eer for the past 40 years, said the art auc­tion mar­ket was grow­ing no­tice­ably.

“In 1977 we sold a paint­ing by Ir ma Ster n for R4 800, which was a still life with mag­no­lia flow­ers.

“Last year the same paint­ing was sold for R5.6 mil­lion,” said Welz, who was speak­ing at the Absa Art Gallery in Jo­han­nes­burg.

“In 1994, there was a lot of ner­vous­ness and no one knew what was go­ing on, but af­ter 1995 the sale of art­works and paint­ings picked up, and over the last five years it has had a strong run.”

Welz said that though hardly con­sti­tut­ing 1 per­cent of the world mar­ket, South Africa’s art had in­ter­na­tional ap­peal.

He cited Ster n’s Ba­hora Girl fetch­ing R27m last month as ev­i­dence of the dra­matic rise in the sec­tor.

He said it was not un­usual for an auc­tion with South African ma­te­rial to sell R60m worth of art­works.

Other lo­cal artists who have done well are Ja­cob Pierneef, whose work sells for up to R12m, and Ger­ard Sekoto, whose work sells for up to R6m. – Sapa

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