Hot on the heels of Bonhams London South African sale in October 2014, which was dominated by the works of expressionist painter Irma Stern, Stephan Welz & Co. will be auctioning Stern’s very large Nude (88cm x 88cm) as part of its Fine Arts and Collectables Sale in Cape Town, to take place Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 February 2015. Valued at R10 to R15 million, the Stern nude was painted in Zanzibar during the 1940s, considered the most fruitful stage in the South African artist’s career.
“It is a work in which we expect to see much interest, in light of recent skyrocketing Stern sales,” said Anton Welz, Director of Stephan Welz & Co. “Stern’s Arab Priest was sold by Bonhams in 2011 for £3.044 million and three years later at the Bonhams October 2014 South African Sale, her Still Life with African Women fetched the top selling price of £962 500, equivalent then to R17.6 million.”
“The painting brings together many of the elements Stern is best known for: an exotic model dramatically positioned, a vibrant and vital application of colour and a style that exposes her ability to identify with the spiritual and emotional beauty of the sitter,” added Gary Shean, Head of the Painting Department at Stephan Welz & Co.
Masterful South African Landscapes
A monumental Pierneef entitled Landscape, Waterberg, which is possibly the largest of his works to appear at auction in South Africa for a number of years, is another one of the masterpieces to go under the hammer at the auction. In this painting, estimated at R1.1 – R1.6 million, Pierneef manages to capture the expanse of the Waterberg landscape — a familiar scene to the painter — with his magnificent rolling clouds. The work has been in the same collection since 1992, when it was sold by Stephan Welz & Co. for what was then a record of R176 000.
Pieter Hugo Naude’s Washday beside the Hex River is to be offered at an estimate of R600 000 – R900 000. Sold previously in 1991 by Stephan Welz & Co. for R77 000, then an auction record for the artist, this is “without doubt the best Naude the company has ever handled,” said Shean. Naude was the first South African professional painter and is regarded as the country’s first open air painter to adapt the skills he acquired in Europe to suit the South African landscape. He was born in Worcester, not far from the Hex River.
A number of works by one of the country’s most important black artists, Peter Clarke, who passed away in 2014, will also be on offer. One of the highlights is In the Pineapple Season, which was a personal favourite of the artist’s. It was never exhibited or sold until a few years ago when the owner purchased the work privately from Clarke. Stephan Welz & Co. achieved a world record for Clarke’s Landscape with Sheep which sold for R784 000 in October last year. Clarke’s market is steadily growing and his work is sought after both in the private and secondary markets locally and worldwide.
Makamo Male and Mickey Mouse
One promising artistic legend in the making is Nelson Makamo, whose painting Male Figure, which has an estimated value of R40 000 – R60 000, will be auctioned by Stephan Welz & Co. Born in 1982, Makamo has been one of Johannesburg’s hottest artists for some time and is known for capturing the energy and essence of urban South African youth. He has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions, both locally and internationally, and his work resides in many corporate and private collections, including those of fashion mogul Giorgio Armani and musician Annie Lennox.
Already a 21st century legend, L.A.-based street artist Mr. Brainwash is another hot auction attraction. His Mickey, 2013, which shows animated icon Mickey Mouse plastered against a spray painted backdrop, will appear on the auction block, with an estimated value of R80 000 to R120 000.
The auction will take place in The Great Cellar, Alphen Estate, Alphen Drive, Constantia on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 February 2015. Pre-auction viewing is open to the public from Wednesday 11 February until Sunday 15 February, 10am – 5pm. Catalogues are available from both the Cape Town and Johannesburg offices as well as on the Stephan Welz & Co.website www.stephanwelzandco.co.za. For more information, contact 021-794-6461 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org