Bonhams (supplied):


Giles Peppiatt, Bonham’s director of African Art, is the global market maker for Modern African Art. He, says:

In my opinion the art-market in SA is on the verge of being the key springboard for the larger African market.  There has been such growth in contemporary African art, both from South Africa and further North, and South Africa deserves to be at the forefront of this market. 

Modern African artists that should be followed and will in my opinion continue to appreciate are: El Anatsui, Ben Enwonwu and William Kentridge.  The one artist who I think that will eventually eclipse all these African hands is the South African Gerard Sekoto.  I would not be surprised if we sell a work by Sekoto for over a £1 million in the next ten years.

The growth of Modern & Contemporary African Art over the past four years has been extraordinary and nominal values have risen by over 200% in some areas.

This market strength combined with the stability of Sterling and the fall of the Rand has established London as the world centre for the sale African and South African art. This was confirmed with the staggering £870,000 price (currently ZAR 20 million) achieved for its latest Irma Stern painting offered in London – ‘Arab in Black’. The picture that helped to save Nelson Mandela’s life.

Peppiatt said after the sale: “Once again our top prices command all others. The flow of art in and out of London makes this the only place to sell if you want to achieve the best prices, record prices. No one else is able to sell R150m in one afternoon sale. In the past nine years Bonhams has sold in excess of R1billion worth of South African art.

Bonhams London has set the world record prices for all the major African and South African artists:

               Artist                             Title                Auction price      Current ZAR

          Irma Stern                        Arab Priest           £ 3,100,000           R 70  Million

Vladimir Tretchikoff            Chinese Girl             £ 980,000              R 23  Million

Jacob Henry Pierneef          Baobab Tree            £ 780,000              R 18 Million

  Alexis Preller                   Garden of Eden          £ 720,000              R 17 Million

       Gerard Sekoto               Yellow Houses            £ 650,000            R 15 Million

         El Anatsui                   New World Map        £ 582,000              R 13 Million

        Ben Enwonwu             Mirror Sculptures      £   433,000              R 10 Million

Giles Peppiatt will be in South Africa in February and March to offer interviews on how African art market has come to achieve the prices it now commands.

For more information please contact Julian Roup at: or call 0044 1892 669200 or 0044 07970 563958

Image: Irma Stern’s Still life with Anemones – on Bonhams’ South African Sale this March