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Stimulating the Art Market with Choice Art

Hugo Naudé, Kammanassie River, Oudtshoorn. Oil on canvas, 45 x 75 cm. PHOTO Nina Lieske, Repro Pictures

Aspire Art Auctions’ Inaugural Cape Town sale on 27 March 2017 at the Avenue, V&A Waterfront attracted widespread interest.

Emma Bedford, Senior Art Specialist and head of Aspire’s Cape Town office, noted: ‘We have achieved several ground-breaking records with historical and contemporary works, proving that our vision of developing the market is not only achievable but enthusiastically supported by collectors, hungry for exciting new developments in the industry.’ J H Pierneef’s A view across Fisherman’s Cove, Seychelles sold for an astonishing R4 547 200, reaching over four times the previous record for a non-South African subject. His Vrystaat Reën achieved R2 046 240, four times its low estimate. Two early and rarely before seen, large-scale drawings by William Kentridge were met with a flurry of bidding. Grande Jeté (1987), purchased from Kentridge’s 1987 Standard Bank Young Artist Award exhibition, realised R2 273 600, whilst Room Service (1986) sold for R2 046 240. Repatriated from Europe by Aspire for this sale, an exquisite Karoo landscape, Kammanassie River, Oudtshoorn, by pioneering South African impressionist painter, Hugo Naudé, sold for an impressive R704 816. Pieter Wenning’s By Riversideweg, Nuweland, acquired a century ago by the owner’s grandfather, the illustrious Dr W M R Malherbe, who established the law faculty at Stellenbosch University, sold for a remarkable R397 880, proving that impeccable provenance attracts interest.

Pieter Wenning, By Riversideweg, Nuweland. Oil on board, 21.5 x 29 cm. PHOTO Nina Lieske, Repro Pictures

Experienced auctioneer and Senior Art Specialist, Ruarc Peffers, commented ‘The success of this auction reflects the new vision, committed to and focused exclusively on fine art, that Aspire Art Auctions brings to the market.’ Amadlozi artists fared well. Improving on the previous record set by Aspire Art Auctions in its inaugural sale of October 2016, Edoardo Villa’s key work, Vertical Composition, set a new record at R1 818 880. Similarly, the Skotnes market was affirmed with Ravine Wall selling for R795 760. Works by the still underrated Christo Coetzee sparked interest – including those benefiting the Christo Coetzee Gallery and Museum in Tulbagh. The diamond-shaped Black Rose Africa, fiercely bid up to R477 456, confirmed the importance of this artist whose works have been acquired by international collectors such as Philip Johnson, leading Modernist architect and former curator at MoMA, New York, and Sophia LorenGerard Bhengu’s Veld Fire achieved R181 888, six times the low estimate – a testimony to the increasing sophistication of the market and its appreciation for rare works of supreme quality. Louis Maqhubela’s compelling Exiled King, a definitive, early work, sold for R341 040; at more than three times his previous record, this is a long-awaited and well-received recognition of this significant artist. Albert Adams’ Untitled (Four Figures with Pitchforks), his first appearance at auction, sold for R136 416. This important artist is being honoured with a solo exhibition at the Rupert Museum, curated by the former Director of Iziko South African National Gallery, Marilyn Martin. 

JH Pierneef, A View across Fisherman’s Cove, Seychelles, 1955. Oil on canvas, 76 x 91.5 cm, PHOTO Nina Lieske, Repro Pictures

Contemporary art exceeded all expectations. David Brown’s Hanging Man sold for a record price of R227 360, three times his previous record, while Steven Cohen’s Chandelier sold for R176 204, seven times his previous record. Mohau Modisakeng, who is representing South Africa at the Venice Biennale 2017, achieved a record of R204 624 for his photograph, Ditaola XV. Another major contemporary artist, Moshekwa Langa, doubled his previous record when his mixed media composition, she thought of him often, sold for R102 312. Joachim Schönfeldt’s sculpture, Maquette 5 made R159 152 while newcomer to the secondary market, Senzeni Marasela’s work, Untitled (from the Covering Sarah series), acknowledging Sarah Baartman, sold for a record R51 156. Award-winning photographer, Mikhael Subotzky’s Cell 508, A Section, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison, achieved a record price of R107 996 while Nandipha Mntambo’s Praça de Touros IV (triptych) sold for a record R125 048. Mary-Jane Darroll, Senior Art Specialist, confirms: ‘We, at Aspire Art Auctions, continue to pioneer the Artist Resale Right, affirming our commitment to the development of the industry and support of emerging and established artists.’

Aspire’s next auction to be held in Johannesburg on 17 July 2017, offers many a treat for art lovers – from landscapes and urban scenes by J H Pierneef, Maggie Laubser, Hugo Naudé and Ephraim Ngatane, through powerful early sculptures by Edoardo Villa and delightful paintings by Walter Battiss and Robert Hodgins to sensational works by contemporary artists like Athi-Patra Ruga and Mohau Modisakeng.

Mohau Modisakeng, Ditaola XV, 2014. Inkjetprint on Epson Ultrasmooth dibonded aluminium composite, 198 x 149 cm. PHOTO Nina Lieske, Repro Pictures

Upcoming Auction | 17 July 2017 | The Park House of Events on 7 | Hyde Park Corner | Johannesburg | Consignments Closed 19 May 2017 | For gratis and obligation-free valuations, and to consign works of art to the upcoming Johannesburg auction, please contact:

Johannesburg | Jacqui Carney | | +27 71 675 2991 | Mary-Jane Darroll | | +27 82 567 1925 | Ruarc Peffers | | +27 84 444 8004

Cape Town | Emma Bedford | | +27 83 391 7235

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