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How valuable is your art?

A free, no-obligation, expert and up-to-date valuation of your works of art can be obtained from the art specialists at Aspire Art Auctions.

There has been exponential growth in the art market recently, especially for works by top South African artists. Aspire Art Auctions, despite being a relatively new player on the SA art auction market, already has a proven track record of excellent sales results at auctions. It is a specialist auctioneering company formed to respond to the requirements of the country’s rapidly growing art industry. Specialising in historical, modern and contemporary art, the company is headed by a group of partners with formidable collective knowledge and expertise – together representing the longest combined secondary art market presence in South Africa. With collective art industry experience of more than 80 years, Art Specialists Emma Bedford, Jacqui Carney, Mary-Jane Darroll, Ruarc Peffers and Marelize van Zyl produce curated auctions of top-quality international, African and South African art. In addition, Aspire is the only auction house in the country which pays Artist’s Resale Rights to living artists. South Africa currently has no royalty or copyright legislation in place which covers the art industry. Artists whose work sells on the secondary market, often for much higher prices than the original sale price, don’t receive anything from these sales. Aspire has taken it upon itself to pay artists royalties from auction sales, in line with common practice in European markets. 

JH Pierneef | A View Across Fishermans Cove

In terms of its track record of sales performances, Aspire already has much to be proud of. Its inaugural Johannesburg auction in October 2016 saw an important South African work fetch the top price. Alexis Preller’s exceptional Profile Figures (Mirrored Image), sold for over R7 million, eclipsing all other amounts earned for the artist in 2016. Further top sales included William Kentridge’s Untitled (Colonial Landscape), achieving over R2 million, and Irma Stern’s gouache, Congolese Woman, selling for over R1.9 million. Aspire also set various significant records at its second sale in Cape Town in March 2017: at estimates of R2 500 000 – 3 500 000, JH 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 matter. Vrystaat Reën achieved R2 046 240, four times its low estimate of R500 000. Equally noteworthy was Hugo Naude’s lovely Kammanassie River, Oudtshoorn, repatriated from Germany for this auction, fetching R704 816.

Marina Abramović, Golden Mask, 2009. Framed chromogenic print, from an edition of 9 + 2 AP, 127 x 127 cm. PHOTO Nina Lieska, Repro Pictures

The recent Winter auction on 17 July in Johannesburg offered a superbly curated selection of some of the best works produced by local and international artists available on the local market. Significant sales of South African works included an incredible drawing, Children under Apartheid, by exiled artist Dumile Feni, which fetched R1 250 480, an auction record for the artist. An extraordinary sculpture by Edoardo Villa, African Mask IV, sold for R966 280, in a hotly-contested bidding war. These headline sales took their place alongside the sparkling successes of works such as Maggie Laubser, Landscape with Huts, Tree, Figure, Cow and a Bird, which sold for R1 023 120. This painting represents a sought-after period in the artist’s career, when she broke away from the depiction of Cape farm and fishing scenes in favour of these boldly coloured Free State rural views. Another local highlight was the painting by Peter Clarke, Figures on a Path, Tesselaarsdal, which sold for R682 080. Auction interest in historic art by the famous Everard Group was very high, with Bertha Everard’s Yellow Fields with Cloud and Shadows, selling for R250 096, almost three times its high estimate, and on par with the world record price. Bertha’s daughter Rosamund Everard-Steenkamp’s painting entitled Fugue in Colour, sold for R409 248, or over double its high estimate.

Peter Clarke, Figures on a Path, 1960. Oil on canvas, 23.5 x 18.5 cm. PHOTO Nina Lieska, Repro Pictures

Significant international sales and bidding interest also marked the recent auction. The top lot on auction, by one of the world’s foremost contemporary artists, sold for R1 448 200. Marina Abramović’s Golden Mask (2009) is a hypnotic photographic print from one of her famed video performances. There were other major international successes, such as the work by Chilean artist, Eugenio Dittborn, entitled 14th History of the Human Face, which fetched a remarkable R522 928, more than five times its high estimate, while the Cameroonian-born, Belgium-based artist, Pascale Marthine Tayou’s work Das Kapital sold for R136 416. If you would like to have your artworks assessed and valued, at no cost or obligation, for possible inclusion on future auctions, Aspire’s art specialists are available.  

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