08/03/2021 General News, Live Auctions
Aspire Art Auctions’ Cape Town sale on 4 March 2021 proved that the market for African and international art continues to thrive despite the pandemic. It was thrilling to note that one third of the buyers were first-time buyers with Aspire, indicating an increase in collectors seeking the choice works of art that Aspire brings to the market.
The top lot by value was Irma Stern’s Dahlias and fruit, one of the most outstanding paintings from her late period, which achieved an impressive R5,234,800. Marlene Dumas scored a sensational hit when her early painting, Score, sold for R3,414,000.
Irma Stern, Dahlias and fruit
William Kentridge’s Drawing from Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old (Mrs Eckstein, preparing for the day) sold for R2,845,000, promoting a celebratory leap, while his exquisite Dutch Iris II realized a very pleasing R644,875.
William Kentridge, Drawing from Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old (Mrs Eckstein, preparing for the day)
George Pemba’s rare, early painting I Epolojice My Warship, excited competitive bidding to reach R682,800, the second highest price for this artist at auction in South Africa, while Gerard Sekoto’s brilliant watercolour of Sophiatown from the celebrated Silberberg Collection fetched a well-deserved R273,120. Peter Clarke’s Dop reached a satisfying R512,100.
George Pemba, I Epolojice My Warship
Peter Clarke, Dop
International artists fared well proving that Aspire attracts art and collectors from across the globe. Isaac Julien made his auction debut in South Africa, achieving the second highest price at auction for this artist globally when his photographic work Chameleon (Ten Thousand Waves) sold for R682,800. David Hockney’s Celia Musing realised R148,907 and Vietnamese artist Hong Viet Dung’s Girl with Lotus attracted competitive bidding to sell at R125,180.
Isaac Julien, Chameleon (Ten Thousand Waves)
African artists excelled with Congolese-born Zemba Luzamba’s Dandy Club 1 soaring to R216,220, more than double the low estimate. Ablade Glover’s Marketplace (R102,420) and Blessing Ngobeni’s Figures and Fish (R119,490) found eager buyers while Turiya Magadlela’s brilliant abstract, riffing off Khaya Mahlangu’s love song, was a winner at R111,387, garnering her a world record at auction.
Zemba Luzamba, Dandy Club 1
A highlight of the evening was when Kevin Roberts’ Lady with Horse and Widow sold for R591,760 after enthusiastic bidding drove it well over the top of the estimate range to secure his second-highest price ever at auction.
Kevin Roberts, Lady with Horse and Widow
Aspire reaffirmed its position as sculpture specialists, leading the field at auction, with five Edoardo Villa sculptures in the sale, including the impressive Reclining Figure which achieved R762,125. Sculptures by Angus Taylor (R227,600); David Brown (R155,415); Lucas Sithole (R70,350) and Willie Bester (R56,900) were sought-after by savvy collectors.
Edoardo Villa, Reclining Figure
Rare gems that sold well above estimate include Gerhard Marx’s exquisite Untitled (Vertical Figure) at R364,160, a world record at auction for the artist, and Penny Siopis’s early mixed media work related to her magnum opus, The Baby and the Bathwater.
Gerhard Marx, Untitled (Vertical Figure)
“We’re delighted with the extraordinary results we achieved in these challenging times”, says Ruarc Peffers, MD and Auctioneer at Aspire Art Auctions. “The calibre of the bespoke collection we presented cements our conviction that, in terms of art collecting, quality significantly outweighs quantity. We’re pleased to be able to support the market and encourage art collecting for the future while making an enduring contribution towards sustaining the art industry.”