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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bonhams London South African Art Sale Sets Records

Bonhams sixth sale of South African Art in London on 14 October made a total of £2.5m (R29m) in a buoyant auction which saw new world record prices achieved for six artists.

Christo-CoetzeeBut as usual it was works by Pierneef, Stern, Laubser and Sekoto which dominated, with one or two lesser known names to European buyers, which made their mark in the top ten at this sale, notably a Maud Sumner which sold for £62,400 and a Christo Coetzee work which made £64,800.

Top lot in the sale was a glowing Irma Stern titled ‘Ripe Fields’ immediately identifiable as a landscape of the Boland near Caledon in the Western Cape, which made £252,000 (pre-sale estimate £150,000 to £200,000). A second Stern, ‘Still life of fruit’, sold for £84,000 (estimate £50,000 to £70,000).

There were also two Pierneefs in the top 10, ‘Lowveld, Mica, Eastern Transvaal’, which achieved £192,000 (Estimate £100,000 to £150,000, and Lot 17, Apies Rivier, Pretoria with Meintjieskop beyond selling for £54,000.

Maggie Laubser’s, ‘A Pondo Woman’, was the third highest price in the sale at £168,000.

Gerard Sekoto, South Africa’s leading black artist, had a painting in the top ten titled Boy with a yellow cap, which made £102,000 against a pre sale estimate of £30,000 to £50,000.

Alexis Preller pictures also performed well with two in the top ten – Icarus which sold for £66,000 (estimate £12,000 to £18,000) and Girl with a flower going for £60,000 (estimate £40,000 to £60,000)

Giles Peppiatt, Head of South African Art at Bonhams, said: “The message of this sale is clear, South African art has bounced out of the recession ahead of many other sectors of the art market. International collectors were competing aggressively for some works, The quality of the work and its dedicated supporters continues to drive international interest in acquiring the best art from this part of the world.”

Another artist in the top ten of this sale was Christo Coetzee whose ‘Still life with fruit, a banjo and birdcage’, sold for £64,800, ten times more than the pre-sale low estimate of £6,000.

World Records Achieved:

Lot 97
Maud Frances Eyston Sumner (South African, 1902-1985) The sea of Galilee
Sold for £62,400 (99,614.91 USD)
A new world record for the artist (previous record was 83,866 US$)

Lot 163
John Meyer (South African, born 1942) Ripplemead turnoff
Sold for 18,000 BP (28,467 US$)
A new world record for the artist

Lot 134
Dumile Feni-Mhlaba (South African, 1942-1991) Lion and cub
Sold for 12,000 BP (18,978 US$)
A new world record for the artist (previous record was 4,560 BP (9,042 US$) at Bonhams)
Lot 80
Jürgen Schadeberg (South African, born 1931) Nelson Mandela in his Law Office, Johannesburg, 1952
Sold for 6,000 BP (9,489 US$)
A new world record for the artist

Lot 144
Stella Shawzin (South African, born 1923) Herero washerwomen unframed
Sold for 5,040 BP (7,970 US$)
A new world record for the artist

Image: Lot 62 – Christo Coetzee (South African, 1929-2001) Still life with fruit, a banjo and birdcage Sold for £64,800 (103,433.84 USD) A new world record for the artist (previous record was 24,347 US$) – Four times over