With works from the great Gerard Sekoto, satirical street artist Banksy and left-wing Romanian painter Jules Perahim, you could say that diversity is the operative word for the collection of quality artworks to be auctioned at the Stephan Welz & Co. Fine Arts and Collectable Sale in Johannesburg on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 April.
The Donkey Cart/The Water Boy is an early Sekoto work, which was painted around 1940, a few years before his 1947 exile from South Africa. It was exhibited at Johannesburg Art Gallery’s first retrospective on the artist titled ‘Gerard Sekoto’, October 1989 – July 1990. It has an estimated value of R1,4 – R1,8 million.
Other classic South African works on offer include Pierneef’s Rustenburg Kloof, which is valued at R1.2 – R1.6 million, a lesser seen Anton van Wouw bronze entitled Bust of Jopie Fourie, which is estimated at R60 000 – R90 000 and two Alexis Preller works, each valued at R100 000 – R150 000. One of the Prellers is Portrait of an African Boy, which is “a beautiful example of the artist’s portraits,” according to Imre Lamprecht, Head of the Art Department at Stephan Welz & Co. The work has been in a private collection since it was acquired directly from the artist in the late 1960s.
Satirical British street and graffiti artist Banksy provides a more contemporary edgy work to the sale. “Like most of this elusive artist’s work, it’s a piece that really speaks for itself,” said Lamprecht. Think Tank has an estimated value of R160 000 –R200 000. Last year, Stephan Welz & Co. auctioned the first ever Banksy to be offered in South Africa for R200 000 and this work is only the second work by the artist to go on auction locally. The work was printed in 2003 by Eye2i in London, the studio working directly with the artist and band (Blur) to create the album cover with the same name. Banksy signed it, and select few others, to be given to those working on the project.
Up with Braamfontein
To coincide with the sale, Stephan Welz & Co. will be facilitating a charity auction to benefit the local community. In an effort to uplift Braamfontein and developing artists, Kalashnikovv Gallery has started Creative Projects, an in-house art fund aimed at providing capital for public artworks, workshops and exhibitions by emerging artists.
Twenty-seven artworks have been donated for auction by the gallery’s exhibiting artists towards this initiative – all money raised from these works will go towards the fund. These works include pieces from relatively unknown artists to well-known names such as Maja Malevich, Jessica Webster, Craig Smith, Zwelethu Machepa, Bevan De Wet and MJ Turpin.
More Contemporary South African
With local and international interest in South African contemporary art continuing to grow, Stephan Welz & Co. is now regularly offering a greater range of late 20th century and early 21st century works, many of which are now just coming on the secondary market.
William Kentridge’s films owe their distinctive appearance to the artist’s home-made animation technique, which he describes as “stone-age filmmaking.” On offer is Drawing for HOT[E]L , a rare and unusual drawing/collage for the 1997 film of the same name, which was a collaboration with artists Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins. Its name comes from the film, in which the “E” of the neon sign intermittently splutters and dies. The value of the work has been estimated at R700 000 – R900 000.
Also on offer by Hodgins is an early work titled Family Group Portrait. The painting, which is signed and dated 1988-89 on the reverse, has been estimated at R200 000 – R300 000. The Unswept Floor is a painting by Matthew Hindley. According to art critic and lecturer Lloyd Pollack, the painting “portrays the artist’s partner, reclining on a sofa during the uncomfortable final stages of pregnancy. Traditional paintings of recumbent women are lusciously indulgent visual poetry, whereas Hindley subverts the genre. The artist strips the setting of luxury and ease, and envelops the model in a problematic atmosphere of tension and mystery.” The painting has an estimated value of R80 000 – R120 000.
No matter how one feels about his style, Vladimir Tretchikoff has without doubt been one of South Africa’s most popular artists of the last few decades. Stephan Welz & Co. will be offering his Ndebele Warrior, valued at R600 000 – R900 000. The sale of Tretchikoff’s most recognized painting, Miss Wong, for R3,5 million at a Stephan Welz & Co. Decorative and Fine Arts Auction in 2013 set a South African record for highest price fetched on auction by a Tretchikoff work. The previous record, also set by the auction house in 2008, was for the sale of Fruits of Bali for a phenomenal R3,4 million, nearly 12 times the painting’s estimate. The sale of that painting kick-started local and international interest in Tretchikoff, resulting in skyrocketing values of the artist’s work that continue to date.
From Europe to Johannesburg
Collectors of international art need look no further than Johannesburg to add to their collections. For the first time, Stephan Welz & Co. will be offering works from Paul Klee and Jules Perahim. Born in 1879, Swiss German painter Paul Klee became involved with the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), founded by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. Kandinsky was a lifelong friend and supporter of Klee, whose work was also influenced by the Cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, the abstract translucent colour planes of Robert Delaunay, and a visit to Tunisia, which awakened his sense of colour. Klee’s Four Drawings, a framed piece containing four of the artist’s drawings in ink, is valued at R100 000 – R150 000.
Romanian painter Jules Perahim, was a leading member of the Surrealist group in Bucharest. When race laws were enacted in 1940 and Perahim was threatened because of his left-wing sympathies, he fled to the Soviet Union. There he was sent on to the Caucasus and Armenia, where he had to perform unskilled labour. After his return to Bucharest in 1944, he devoted himself to Socialist Realism. From the 1950s onward, he concentrated on book illustrations and theatrical set designs, two art forms less strictly monitored by the censors, and later immigrated to France. Amitie Par Mimetisme, valued at R50 000 – R80 000, is a painting in which characters maintain a resemblance with human anatomy, but their bodies are surrealistic combinations of the human and the animal kingdom.
Anyone can bid for pieces online via www.the-saleroom.com, a leading portal for live art and antiques auctions. Users of the website can search catalogues and place their bids over the internet in real-time, with live audio and video from the auction room.
The Stephan Welz & Co. Fine Art and Design Auction will take place Tuesday 21 April and Wednesday 22 April 2015 on the 4th floor, South Tower, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Johannesburg. Pre-auction viewing is open to the public daily from Wednesday 15 until Monday 20 April, 10am – 5pm. Catalogues are available from both the Cape Town and Johannesburg offices as well as on the websitewww.stephanwelzandco.co.za.