Stephan Welz & Co.’s two-day sale of Decorative and Fine Arts totalled R36 343 458 – a record total for a sale held in Johannesburg. Following in the wake of the recent success of the Kahn auction in Cape Town, these outstanding results reinforce the fact that collectors are looking for top-quality works across all categories. The phenomenal attendance at the auction coupled with the huge amount of written and telephonic bids contributed to this success.
The South African Old Masters maintained their form with high prices achieved for Pierneef, Irma Stern and Maggie Laubser. Highlighting the Fine Art section was a superb work by Pierneef, Landscape with Thorn Tree that realised R2 860 000. Other works by the artist that sold for over a million Rand include Wild Pear Tree (incorrectly titled Acacias in Bloom, R1 760 000), Landscape with Trees and Clouds (R1 100 000) and Forest Landscape (R1 045 000). Following the record high prices realised for Irma Stern in the Kahn auction in February 2007, and the R2 420 000 realised for the Olive Pickers and R770 000 for Figure and Fruit on Monday night, it is encouraging to note that the Stern market is holding strong. The high prices realised for Tretchikoff’s Face in Fish Tank which sold for R198 000, Sumner’s Still Life with a Bowl, Fruit and Flowers in a Vase (R 550 000), Skotnes’s Totem Drum (R 93 500) and Preller’s Five Figures of Animal Fetish (R121 000) are also worth a mention. Numerous records were also set for lesser known artists – testimony to the broad support and following of South African art.
Jewellery and watches also performed well. Some highlights include: a diamond ring set with a baguette-cut diamond, J colour S12 clarity (with certificate from the Jewellery Council of South Africa) weighing 2,002 cts which sold for R77 000, highly desirable period pieces in particular an art deco plaque ring sold for R24 200. White gold continues to be sought after.
New South African Auction Records established:
Maud Sumner (lot 539), STILL LIFE WITH A BOWL, FRUIT AND FLOWERS IN A VASE, sold for
R 550 000.
Ephraim Ngatane (lot 604), TOWNSHIP SCENE, sold for R 209 000
Zakkie Eloff (lot 593), SPRINGBOK AND WILDEBEEST, sold for R 44 000.
Titta Fasciotti (lot 595), A MOUNTAINOUS LANDSCAPE, sold for R 60 500.
Jean Doyle (lot 596), THE CELLIST, sold for R 60 500.
Anton van Wouw (lot 475), THE DAGGA SMOKER, sold for R 462 000.
Nita Spilhaus (lot 491), RONDEBOSCH, sold for R 308 000.
Irma Stern (lot 528), HEAD OF A WATUSSI WOMAN, sold for R 110 000, the highest amount for a
charcoal work by this artist.
Clement Sénèque (lot 531), POOL, sold for R 41 800.
Johannes Meintjes (lot 591), A YOUNG GIRL WITH A DOLL, sold for R 77 000.
Sidney Kumalo (lot 601), SQUAT HEAD, sold for R 82 500.
Dino Paravano (lot 598), TWO RHINOS, sold for R 77 000.
Joe Maseko (lot 609), LAKOTLA, R 38 500.
Lucky Sibiya (lot 611), FIGURES AND BIRDS, sold for R 82 500.
Paul Augustinus (lot 619), KANYU FLATS, RAINY SEASON, sold for R 52 800.
Sam Nhlengethwa (lot 622), BLUE JACKET, sold for R 66 000.
Marie Vermeulen Breedt (lot 626), LEARNING TO SEW, sold for R 66 000.
Bettie Cilliers-Barnard (lot 328), CRANES AT A WATERFALL, sold for R 66 000.
Jan Dingemans (lot 349), ABSTRACT COMPOSITION, sold for R 11 000.
Ben Macala (lot 389), SEATED FIGURE, sold for R 17 600.