LONDON.- Interest in Bonhams fourth South African Art Sale on 9 and 10 September and the rising profile of South African artists generated by these sales, has attracted a many outstanding works which have not been seen on the market for as long as 50 years in some cases.
Bonhams fourth and largest sale of South African Art, 450 lots divided into two sales, one at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on September 9 and one in Bonhams in Bond Street on September 10 is expected to set new records. Over the past two decades South African art prices have risen gently, but in the past five years there has been a marked acceleration with the work of top artists such as Irma Stern, Maggie Laubscher, Pierneef and Gerard Sekoto. Price increases have been between 500 and 1,000 per cent over the past five years as keen collectors as well as investors have been attracted to this previously little appreciated art genre.
This sale includes the strongest collection of Irma Stern's yet seen in London, no fewer than 38 paintings. Among them are a number at the £300,000 mark including `Swazi Girl' and `Dahlias'. Swazi Girl, Lot 313 in the sale, by Irma Stern, oil on canvas, 93 x 69.5cm (36 5/8 x 27 3/8in), is estimate to sell for £250,000-350,000.
Giles Peppiatt, Director of South African Art at Bonhams, the international fine art auction house which has almost single handedly built the South African Art Market in Europe, said of his next sale: “We have had such a growth of interest that we have had to extend the sale to two days and two venues to allow us to exhibit the works as they deserve. We are seeing a maturing market for South African Art with a greater appreciation by non South African buyers. Increasingly the market is demanding the best but also paying greater and greater record prices. Artists like Maggie Laubscher, Irma Stern and Pierneef are receiving prices and critical recognition which would have delighted them had they lived to see it. The 450 lots in this sale is a fantastic cross section of some of the very best South African work ever seen anywhere in the world.”