2022 has been an exciting year for the Stephan Welz & Co. art department. The Cape Town Premium Sale kicked off our auction calendar with an impressive sell-through rate, setting a precedent for the sales to follow, with the department continuing this trend throughout the year. Our specialists are enthusiastic about the current trajectory of the South African art market, and have discussed a few of their personal highlights below:


Amy Carrington – Art Specialist, Cape Town

“It has been particularly exciting to see a steadily increasing interest in contemporary South African art within the auction world. I think this indicates diversification within the auction market, and ultimately allows us to present a more accurate and inclusive representation of the scope of South African art. We have also seen an increase in our buyers thinking beyond the walls of their homes, investing in art that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but contributes to investment portfolios. A personal highlight this year was handling William Kentridge’s Dutch Iris II. Spending time examining Kentridge’s mark-making and considered layering cemented his virtuosity in printmaking and his impressive approach to treating intaglio prints much like his expressive drawings. Kentridge’s technique of layering and revising provisional lines, a recurring process of “thinking out loud” throughout the artist’s oeuvre, was excellently illustrated in this work, resulting in a wonderfully complex piece”.


Adam Heald – Junior Art Specialist, Cape Town

“The past Cape Town Premium auction was an amalgamation of beauty and history. A standout piece for me was Michael Amery’s Settlers. Amery’s work stands to be the intersection between the old South African modernists and the new era of contemporary art. The beauty and wonder of the South African landscape has long since been a source of inspiration for artists, documenting its everchanging colours with each passing season. Settlers is a scene inspired by the Western Cape’s Swartberg mountain range. Amery uses the late afternoon sunlight, as it casts shadows of deep blues and purples on the surface of each rock formation.

A single Eucalyptus tree draws our attention to the foreground of the painting, as its linear shape reaches over the mountain tops, surgically dividing the painting into two parts. The Eucalyptus tree is commonly found throughout the South Africa landscape; however, it is an alien plant, introduced to the native flora and ecosystems by the British in the late 18th century. The Eucalyptus tree presented in this context becomes an incredibly significant Symbol. Amery uses similar symbols and motifs throughout his work, subtly exploring the parallels between our colonial history as well as the socio-economic divides commonly found within South Africa today”.


Alexia Ferreira – Art Specialist, Johannesburg

“As an art specialist we are afforded the opportunity to deal with a broad range of collections, both corporate and private. One of the most exciting collections that I have dealt with this year is that of the Legacy Museum at the Orient Boutique Hotel.

The museum and Restaurant Mosaic was managed and curated by renowned chef, Chantel Dartnall. Artworks were meticulously integrated into the restaurant and hotel, creating an environment where guests were greeted with beauty and a multi-sensory experience from the moment they entered the property. The Museum showcased works of art that celebrated South African art and the legacy left behind by some of the country’s most respected and celebrated artists. The collection spans multiple periods, techniques and movements in South Africa’s recent art history and offers a personal glimpse into the works of some of the canons of South African art, including the works of the Cape Impressionists – Alexander Rose-Innes, William Timlin, Hugo Naudé, Terrance McCaw, Gwelo Goodman, Gregoire Boonzaier, Cecil Higgs and Nita Spilhaus, as well as older masters such as WH Coetzer, Frans Oerder, and Tinus de Jongh – not forgetting more contemporary artists such as Hennie Niemann, Conrad Theys and Lynn-Marie Eatwell. Much of the collection was purchased directly from the artists and was a collaboration between the artists and the family, such as the likes of Tienie Pritchard and Adriaan Boshoff, producing a carefully curated and unparalleled collection that has been added to since the early 1970s to date”.


Robyn Woolley – Junior Art Specialist, Johannesburg

“As someone who has worked in the Primary market, it is constantly surprising to see the inevitable differences as well as the strong intertwined nature of both the primary and secondary art markets. It is, of course, tantalizing to work with rare and desirable collectables, however, to be able to learn from a rapidly evolving and fickle market is one of my favorite aspects of being an art specialist. The first auction house was established in 1674 in Sweden, and I find the nature of the business with its changing yet somehow constant zeitgeist, rather remarkable. It is an age-old industry that has an impact on our cultural perspectives and that is always an impressive sentiment.

As specialists, we are exposed to an array of collections, and it is always interesting to not only witness people’s propensity to collect but also their reasoning and perception of what they deem as ‘valuable’ art. It varies from collectors who buy art based off their personal taste to collectors who meticulously follow industry trends, and seeing these collections perform on auction always satisfies a professional sense of curiosity”.

The art department is looking forward to the rest of the sales for 2022, with premium auctions coming up in October and November. We are actively consigning for these sales, so whether you have a work by an old master, a portfolio of contemporary works, would like expert advice on procuring or selling investment pieces, or if you are simply curious about the value of your items, contact us via support@swelco.co.za. For up-to-date information regarding our upcoming sale dates and valuation days, follow our social media pages.

Cataloguing information:

William Kentridge (South African 1955 – )
signed and numbered 11/30 in pencil in the margin
etching and aquatint in colours on Arches paper
sheet size: 122 by 80cm
Estimate: R500 000 – R1 000 000
Sold: R798 000


Michael Amery (South African 1984 – )
signed and dated ’21
oil on canvas
76,5 by 100cm
Estimate: R15 000 – R20 000
Sold: R44 118


Alexander Rose-Innes (South African 1915 – 1996) STUDY OF A MAN
oil on canvas
65,5 by 40,5cm; 87 by 61,5 by 3cm including frame
R25 000 – R35 000

Terence John McCaw (South African 1913 – 1978) MOSQUE
oil on board
49,5 by 59,5cm; 91,5 by 101 by 7,5cm including frame
R20 000 – R30 000


Cecil Higgs (South African 1898 – 1986) DRIED PROTEAS, SHELLS, THINGS III
signed and dated ‘69
oil on canvas
59,5cm by 75cm; 104 by 119 by 9cm including frame
R25 000 – R40 000


Conrad Nagel Doman Theys (South African 1940 – ) STILL LIFE WITH BLUE TEAPOT
signed and dated 1992
pastel on paper
24,5 by 31cm; 88 by 96 by 9cm including frame
R10 000 – R15 000

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