Peter Clarke is Auction Big Seller on Revered Painter’s Home Turf
Three paintings by Peter Clarke, the Cape Town artist whose works have been escalating in value, sold for over R1,3 million collectively in an intense bidding war at the Stephan Welz & Co. Fine Art and Collectables Sale in Cape Town, 17 and 18 February.
Also surpassing the million rand mark (and its estimated value) was Jacob Hendrik Pierneef’s Landscape, Waterberg, which sold for R1.74 million. To read more about the highlights of our February sale, and the intriguing portrait valued at R4000 – R6000 which sold for R148 000
Three paintings by Peter Clarke, the Cape Town artist whose works have been escalating in value, sold for over R1,3 million collectively in an intense bidding war at the Fine Art and Collectables Sale at Stephan Welz & Co. in Cape Town, 17 and 18 February.
African Pastoral, which was valued at R300 000 – R500 000, sold for R737 000; In the Pineapple Season, which had an estimated value of R280 000 – R380 000 and was considered one of the artist’s personal favourites, sold for R480 000; and Vandag is Daar Niks Wat Goedkoop is Nie sold for R158 800.
Considered one of South Africa’s most important artists, Clarke was born and bred in Simon’s Town. His family was forcibly relocated to Ocean View, the community adjacent to Kommetjie, which came into existence in 1968 through the Group Areas Act. In spite of his great international reputation, Clarke lived modestly in Ocean View until his death in 2014.
Surpassing the million rand mark was Jacob Hendrik Pierneef’s monumental Landscape, Waterberg, which was possibly the largest of his works to appear at auction in South Africa for a number of years. Estimated at R1.1 – R1.6 million, the painting was sold for R1.74 million. Previously sold by the company in 1992, the work has been in the same collection since 1992. In addition, Irma Stern’s 1957 gouache entitled Melon Seller at a Zanzibar Market sold for R1.16 million.
What drew international collectors out of the wood work was the intriguing Portrait of a Lady valued at a mere R4 000 – R6 000, which fetched an astounding R148 000. From painted portraits to photographic ones, a set of four prints chronicling Ndebele women and children by famed South African photographer Constance Stuart Larrabee was sold for R56 840. Larrabee spent much time with the Ndebeles in the 1940s, before her tenure as a war photojournalist during World War II. Ultimately settling in the USA, Larrabee donated her own collection of her African work to the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute.
“This auction perfectly exemplifies how, if you have all the right components in your sale – art that is of a high quality, that is fresh and unseen for some time, and has good provenance – the results will be great,” said Anton Welz, Director of Stephan Welz & Co.
Take a Seat
“The good prices which were achieved in the furniture portion of the sale are another good example of having all the right elements in place,” added Welz. “The Pitzer Paul Collection of hand crafted Cape furniture and Africana was lovingly collected over nearly 50 years by partners Ben Pitzer and Dave Paul, and was a veritable time capsule of the 19th and early 20th century in South Africa.” One hundred percent of the furniture in the collection was sold, with highlights including a Cape stinkwood Tulbagh chair with an estimated value of R4 000 – R6 000, which sold for R60 299, and a 19th century Cape yellowwood and stinkwood cupboard with an estimated value of R30 000 – R40 000, which went under the hammer at R113 680.
From the colonial Cape to 1960s Scandinavia, a Norwegian beech and leather flex chair and folding ottoman designed by Ingmar Relling for Westnofa sold for R39 788. The sleek set had an estimated value of R4 000 – R6 000.
Diamonds attracted bids galore at the auction, with a 2.66ct claw-set diamond ring valued at R35 000 – 60 000, selling for R123 200. Another ring that did brilliantly was an Uwe Koetter diamond ring with a beautiful 2.6200ct central light fancy yellow embellished with pavé-set round diamonds. The Koetter ring had been valued at R100 000 – R180 000, but was sold for R448 000.
Other notable sales included an 1859 Dutch silver tray valued at R 15 000 – 25 000, which sold for R145 600, and an 18th century Japanese Arita blue and white VOC plate, which was estimated at R15 000 – 20 000 and sold for R47 040. A 1930 Clarice Cliff ‘Appliqué Palermo’ vase, which was estimated at R30 000 – 50 000 sold for R67 200, and a large Chinese spinach-jade ‘Double-Dragon’ seal with a hardwood stand, which had an estimated value of R3 500 – 5 000, sold for R14 560.
Keep Left… or Right
Finally, a two-door sporty 1960 Mercedes Benz 190SL, a mid-century classic model known as the car of the rich, the famous and the aristocratic, sold for R1.85 million. Equipped with left-hand drive, it was the perfect car for its buyer, who spends six months in South Africa and six months in Europe every year.
A JAPANESE ARITA BLUE AND WHITE VOC PLATE, 18TH CENTURY
SOLD R47 040
A CLARICE CLIFF ‘APPLIQUÉ PALERMO’ VASE, 1930
SOLD R67 200
A LARGE CHINESE SPINACH-JADE ‘DOUBLE-DRAGON’ SEAL WITH HARDWOOD STAND
SOLD R14 560
PETER CLARKE AFRICAN PASTORAL
SOLD R737 000
PETER CLARKE IN THE PINEAPPLE SEASON
SOLD R480 000
PETER CLARKE VANDAG IS DAAR NIKS WAT GOEDKOOP IS NIE
SOLD R158 800
IRMA STERN MELLON SELLER AT A ZANZIBAR MARKET
SOLD R1 160 000
PIERNEEF LANDSCAPE, WATERBERG
SOLD R1 740 000
CONTINENTAL SCHOOL PORTRAIT OF A LADY
SOLD R148 000
A DUTCH SILVER TRAY, 1859
SOLD R 145 600
A DIAMOND RING
SOLD R123 200
A DIAMOND RING, UWE KOETTER
SOLD R448 000
CAPE STINKWOOD TULBAGH CHAIR
SOLD R60 299
A CAPE YELLOWWOOD AND STINKWOOD CUPBOARD, 19TH CENTURY
SOLD R113 680
A NORWEGIAN BEECH AND LEATHER FLEX CHAIR & FOLDING OTTOMAN BY INGMAR RELLING FOR WESTNOFA, CIRCA 1960
SOLD R39 788
CONSTANCE STUART LARRABEE (British/South African, 1914-2000): NDEBELE WOMAN CARRYING A BABY, 1940S, NDEBELE WOMAN SEATED, 1940s, NDEBELE WOMAN, 1940s AND NDEBELE CHILD, SOUTH AFRICA, 1946, SILVER GELATIN PRINTS, PHOTOGRAPHER’S COPYRIGHT STAMP ON THE REVERSE, ONE SIGNED AND INSCRIBED WITH THE TITLE AND DATE ON THE REVERSE.
SOLD R56 840
1960 MERCEDES BENZ 190SL
SOLD R1 850 000
Image: Lot 604