South Africa’s art market has remained relatively strong in comparison to other markets even though the country is entering its first recession in 17 years. This week’s sales were led by the Kebble Collection of art being sold by the estate of disgraced murdered mining magnate Brett Kebble. Estimated in the 50 to 70 million Rand range, the collection was 94% sold but only brought in 54 million rand ($6.42 m) at Graham’s Fine Art Gallery led by Graham Britz. Here’s Bloomberg:
The collection of 133 items included Irma Stern’s “Woman Sewing Karos” and “Mother and Child,” and Maria Magdalena Laubser’s “Portrait of an Old Woman with Head Scarf: Landscape in Background.” Volschenk’s “The Valley of the Kaffirkuils near Riversdale” sold for 720,000 rand, a record for one his works, while Stanley Pinker’s “Trapeze in the Sky” fetched 500,000 rand, three times more than previous prices paid for his art, Britz said.
Strauss & Co. on March 8 raised 38 million rand for South African art, including 7.15 million rand for Stern’s still life portrait “Magnolias in an Earthenware Pot,” according to its Web site.
London-based Bonhams in March achieved record prices for 12 South African artists, including Laubser’s “Indian Girl With Poinsettias,” which sold for 276,000 pounds ($415,131), beating pre-sale estimates of 100,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds, according its Web Site. A piece by Preller sold for more than double the highest predicted amount, Bonhams said.
The Sterns didn’t carry through with their momentum. Here’s South Africa’s Business Day on the details of the lot:
Buyers had to wade through more than 30 lots before the first major Stern came up for sale: Stern’s 1929 picture Woman Sewing Karos failed to attract the interest expected and went for R4,2m — well short of the pre-auction estimate of R5m-R7m.
Indeed, despite setting a record for a South African art collection, the sale didn’t measure up the Britz’s hype of potentially bringing in twice the total achieved. Though the auctioneer was quick to claim that the magic 100 million rand mark could have been achieved in a better economy.
Slain Gold Magnate’s Art Sale Breaks S. Africa Record (Bloomberg)
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