PRESS RELEASE FROM 24 APRIL 2009
Positive results across the board from our April Auction of
Fine & Decorative Arts,
Furniture, Silver, Ceramics, Books & Jewellery
· * Sale overcomes expected problems from a month fractured by holidays and election thanks to high attendances
and unusual levels of absentee and telephone bidding
· * Traditional South African artists still dominate results, with Boonzaier, Battiss, Pierneef, Tugwell, Rose-Innes,
Tinus de Jongh and others all doing well.
· * New records for Gerhard Batha and Cathcart Methven
· * Furniture sales illustrate preference for Cape craftsmanship
· * Patek Philippe 18ct white gold wristwatch, as expected, the highlight of a competitive watches session
· * Books and jewellery departments produce excellent results
· * Some sales resistance to higher priced lots now in evidence
Stephan Welz & Company, in association with Sotheby’s, presented its Johannesburg autumn auction, on 20 & 21 April 2009, having pre-publicised it as being of broad appeal across a range of specialist departments. The results very much underpin the accuracy of this positioning, although the high level of bidding and financial support came as a welcome bonus in some areas.
The sale’s ‘cover lot’, lot 329, the controversial William Joseph Kentridge work of the mid 1980s ‘The Highveld Style Masked Ball’ pre-sale estimated at R500 000 – R700 000 performed adequately under the hammer, achieving R560 000.
The bulk of the paintings on offer were from the ‘traditional South African art’ category and the results were most encouraging, doubly so in the light of global belt-tightening in art circles. The market for art created at home is still most buoyant. As examples, lot 224, Pieter Wenning’s ‘A Cape Homestead’ performed on estimate at R560 000. On the other hand, lot 218, ‘Landscape with Distant Houses’ by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef was a more moderate success, slightly under estimate at R392 000. However, other sales established new benchmarks in their category.
Cathcart William Methven and his ‘Tugela River in the Drakensberg’ painting, lot 217, a relatively rare appearance on auction, shattered the R80 000 – R120 000 estimate, going under the hammer at R201 600. A group of four paintings by Walter Battiss (lots 233,234,235,236) was extremely successful with three out of four going over high estimate. Gregoire Boonzaier (lots 244 – 248) was similarly supported, with four out of five sales surfing over the high estimate figure.
In a sale peppered with such performances, the double-record achievement by Gerhard Batha drew both applause and amused reaction. First, his ‘Camps Bay’ (lot 307) established a South African auction record for the artist, beating the high estimate of R50 000 with a price of R56 000. This modest step forward was eclipsed two lots later when his ‘Cape Town Harbour’ went for over double its high estimate, achieving R67 200.
In the books session which started the sale on Monday 20 April, a number of sales went way above high estimate, and with 84 lots on offer, a sales success of over 80% was most encouraging. Of note was lot 32, a collection of 18 literary and other items relating to the Graeme/Graham family of Grahamstown fame. The high estimate of R7 000 was surpassed with a price of R12 320 being achieved.The star lot of the session, lot 84, boasting an estimate of R200 000 – R210 000, was the superb first edition of six volumes of J L Gottfried’s ‘Voyagien na Oost en West-Indien’, 1727/1728, which made R224 000.
Furniture again demonstrated the rewards achievable in the broad market sector of Cape craftsmanship. Lot 580, a large gate-leg table from the 18th century, sold on estimate for R44 800, while lot 585, a beautiful cupboard from the 19th century estimated at R30 000 – R50 000 achieved exactly the same price. Just to prove that furniture from elsewhere in the world has appeal on auction, a 19th century William lV carved mahogany linen press from the Channel Islands, Lot 521, (R45 000 – R55 000) made R50 400.
Quality silver did well. Lot 612, a pair of 20th century French silver tureens, estimated at R8 000 – R12 000 reached R17 920. Lot 641, a pair of 1843/44 Victorian silver salvers by Joseph & Albert Savory, London (R10 000 – R15 000 ) did even better at R21 280. Lot 677, an Edwardian silver revolving top breakfast dish from 1908 (R8 000 – R12 000) also produced competitive support, up to a sale price of R17 440.
The jewellery session was exciting and really proved that there is something for everyone, no matter the period, the style or the financial bracket. Lot 714, a late Victorian hinged 15ct gold bangle (R7 000 - R9 000) made R13 440, lot 727, a three-stone diamond ring (high estimate R20 000) went for R33 600 and lot 742, a citrine intaglio and diamond pendant went to more than double its estimate, achieving R16 800. Lot 751, a red coral necklace also achieved double its estimate at R6 720, and lot 772, an aquamarine and diamond pendant pushed the levels higher at almost three times its estimate, reaching R24 640. As though there was no limit, lot 814, a tourmaline and diamond ring went for a shade under five times the estimate, selling for R19 040.
As an (almost) final example of this sale’s success Lot 507, a gentleman’s fine 18ct white gold automatic wristwatch by Patek Philippe, estimated at R160 000 – R180 000 made R224 000.
The last three lots of the sale said it all in terms of the achievement of prices well over estimate.
Lot 906, an 1897 18ct gold sovereign case (est R5 500 – R6 500) sold R10 080.
Lot 907, an 18ct gold cigarette case (est R8 000 – R12 000) sold R20 160.
Lot 908, an (other) 18ct gold cigarette case (est R18 000 – R24 000) …. Sold for R 47 040!
It all bodes rather well for the company’s next two sales,
The Stamps and Coins Auction in Johannesburg
(13 & 14 May – telephone 011 880-3125)
The Fine and Decorative Arts Auction in Cape Town
(26 & 27 May – telephone 021 794-6461)
Captions to suggested images
Cathcart William Methven (South African 1849-1925)
POOL ON THE TUGELA RIVER, NATAL NATIONAL PARK, DRAKENSBERG
50,6 by 60,5cm
Pieter Willem Frederick Wenning (South African 1873-1921)
A CAPE HOMESTEAD
33 by 43cm
A gentleman’s fine 18ct white gold wristwatch, Patek Philippe, annual calendar with moon-phase and power reserve indication, ref. 5036, circa 2004
..."automatic, the circular silvered dial applied with luminous roman numerals, two subsidiary dials indicating day and month, date aperture at 6 o’clock, fan-form sectors for moon-phase and power reserve indication, polished circular case and bezel, screw-down sapphire crystal display, back, case, dial and movement signed, with an 18ct white gold Patek Philippe link bracelet and twin folding clasp, diam. of bezel 32mm, accompanied by a Patek Philippe presentation case, outer card box and leather bound pouch with certificate of origin. Production of reference 5036/1 commenced in 1997 and ceased in 2006. It was the first annual calendar wristwatch to be produced with moon-phases"...
For images and additional information, please phone Natalie Randall or Tony Burgess on 011 880 3125