Africa in Europe

Africa in Europe

Aspire Art Auctions and Artcurial have collaborated to bring a feast of African art to Paris.

08/05/2021     General News, Latest News, Live Auctions

Aspire strongly believes in the quality, creativity and historical and cultural significance of the art produced on the African continent from antiquity to the present day. As the Cradle of Humankind, the inventiveness and imagination of the human race emanates from South Africa, the home of Aspire Art Auctions.

Markets are not built in a vacuum, and our focus and strategy are to grow a global market for artists from the African continent, through investments of time and resources, research and presentation, and collaborations with those that share this vision and have the capacity to drive it forward. 


The quality of art from Africa is on par with that of Europe and the Americas, indeed, some would argue it is fresher, with its own flavour and flare, unique and unlike that with which the world has become so familiar through over-representation in the 20th century. Yet, the artworks produced by artists from these “first-world” capitals trade at significantly higher levels than that of the artists of Africa. This paradigm is changing with increasing rapidity, being brought about by the concerted efforts of companies like Aspire and Artcurial who have the vision and comprehension to see how global tastes, public opinion and market appetite are developing. We are in touch with the global zeitgeist and with that we bring to market increasingly relevant and interesting collections and, thereby, incrementally grow the value of the artworks and artists included therein. As a growing pool of international collectors progressively appreciate the quality and relevance of these offerings, they consequently achieve continuously higher prices with each passing sale.

There is immense room for growth in value of African modern and contemporary art as it aligns more and more to the value systems and pricing levels of the rest of the world, and we present opportunities to savvy collectors to get involved and engage with a market that is primed to scale exponentially over the coming decades.

Ruarc Peffers, MD of Aspire, comments: “So much of the wealth of Europe was built off the bodies, efforts and minerals that emanated from Africa, without Africans having received much direct benefit. In many ways this trend has not changed. At Aspire, we aim to present the cultural produce of Africa to a global market, but ultimately return the proceeds to Africa, thereby creating value and building wealth throughout the continent. By growing value in art from this continent we are systematically closing the historical value gap and addressing social and economic development head-on, while adding value to collectors of African art around the world, and simultaneously adding value to Africans in Africa.”

A magnificent tapestry by William Kentridge, extraordinary in scale and innovation, and employing a weaving technique developed in France, leads the field. Kentridge’s print, The Battle Between Yes and No and Georgina Gratrix’s painting, Most Beautiful Girl, offer amusing and incisive commentary on notions of beauty and ‘the battle of the sexes’. In contrast, Zimbabwean, Misheck Masamvu’s painting Natural Selection muses on Darwinian notions of human adaptation while South African Athi-Patra Ruga raises questions around ethnicity and sexual orientation in a glorious textile construction that featured in the exhibition Art Afrique at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in 2017.


Look out for classic mid-century modern sculpture by Sydney Kumalo and Lucas Sithole and extraordinary contemporary works from Doreen Southwood and Patrick Bongoy. Dumile Feni’s magnificent large-scale drawing captures the power of King Sobhuza of Swaziland, the longest reigning monarch ever. Also included are works by stalwarts like David Koloane who played a seminal role during the apartheid years and Blessing Ngobeni, the Standard Bank Young Artist award winner and initiator of the Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize to advance young artists.



Sale Details:

Modern & Contemporary African Art

co-curated by Aspire Art Auctions and Artcurial


Date: Tuesday 15 June 2021

Venue: 7 Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées, 75008, Paris, France


Press Contact:

Meagan Manners | +27 76 381 9487 |


Sale Contacts:

Emma Bedford | +27 83 391 7235 |

Jacqui Carney | +27 71 675 2991 |

Ruarc Peffers | +27 84 444 8004 |

Marelize van Zyl |+27 83 283 7427 |