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