South African art is proving to be a prudent investment for wealth-creators looking beyond traditional asset classes
Over the past few years, fine art has emerged as a new asset class for the well-diversified portfolio, with eyecatching returns. With SA boasting the lion’s share of the continental market, local art has come under the spotlight.
Market research group New World Wealth found that the global top-end art market is valued at around $75 billion. African art accounts for about $1 billion of this, with $450 million held specifically in SA. According to the group’s in-house indices, South African fine art prices have risen by 28% over the past 10 years (in dollar terms). Global fine art prices have risen by 12% over the same period.
The report identifies the top South
African artists in terms of prices fetched in the market, with Irma Stern leading the way. Her work fetches up to R30 million per painting, with an average price of R5 million.
Works by Cape-based Expressionist Maggie Laubser fetch up to R5 million per painting, while the average price is around R600 000. The value of pieces by the painter and printmaker, who died in 1973, is expected to rise substantially.
Paintings by acclaimed landscape artist Jakobus Hendrik Pierneef currently fetch average prices of about R800 000 per painting, but his works can fetch up to R20 million.
The only black artist to make the list is the late Gerard Sekoto, whose paintings sell for an average price of R400 000 and top out at R5 million. Born in Botshabelo, Mpumalanga and considered a pioneer of black South African art, he was critically acclaimed for his ability to capture the humanity and realism of everyday scenes, giving dignity to black South Africans and eschewing the distance that separated celebrated European artists from their subjects during his lifetime. He died in
Paris in self-imposed exile in 1993, having acquired a reputation in Europe, but without a significant following in SA.
New World Wealth also identified several artists expected to shine in the future, so you can start investing ahead of the curve. The Renoir of SA, the late Adriaan Boshoff, Yugoslav-born Branko Dimitrov and the wonderfully named Portchie, who specialises in colourful landscapes and bronze sculptures, are among them.