Gary Shean chats to Edwine Simon about the magic of collecting Peter Clarke artworks and about the launch of his Gary Shean Fine Art Consultation

GS” I first met Peter Clarke in 2009 and we became friends and I spent many hours being personally invited to his home to discuss his art works. Together we walked around Ocean View in Cape Town to view the subject matter of his paintings, as his community meant a great deal to him as an artist.”   “Peter worked from home; it was easy to spend hours in discussion, with regards to his work and where to place it on the open market through auction houses. In this way I was fortunate enough to have Peter’s personal insight into specific paintings, prints and mixed media art works and he was always available to provide a title or history of the work.”“As friends I often took Peter shopping, to the bank and collected and dropped him off to attend functions, as he never drove nor owned a car.”  “I put the strength of my relationship, with Peter down to my being able to talk to him about his works and what he was trying to communicate through his poetry, paintings and prints to his audience and those members of the public buying his works.” “Peter Clarke enjoyed nothing more than to speak about the community, in which he lived and was devoted to its people and the environment” He used his domestic environment as subject matter in his art works, at first influenced by a stretch of coast line from Simon’s town to Muizenberg and after that his “Ocean View “community.

ES “How did the “Peter Clarke Foundation come into being”

GS “I was appointed curator and put in charge of the Peter Clarke private collection, by the family to help build his brand. I have been doing this for a number of years, with the intent of building on his legacy, in the hope that one day a permanent environment, would be initiated to house and show the collection. In this way the legacy of the Artist’s memory is kept alive, not only through auctions, but exhibitions, media releases, anniversary projects in conjunction, with the Iziko National Gallery and the Peter Clarke Art Centre in Cape Town.” “Currently the intention is to hold a solo exhibition and participate in group shows, with those works within the collection, which have not been seen by the public.” “When looking, at Peter Clarke’s work one gets a very clear picture of an artist’s life living in South Africa during Apartheid. “A social commentary on the life of the communities, in which he lived, was invariably infused, with a keen insight, which can be seen in his paintings.” (2011).  “The period of  Peter’s works that I enjoy the most is the Cubism period, I personally think, and knowing his collection as well as I do, that Peter painted in many different styles, with his Cubism period being my favourite.  Peter, in my opinion, was such a talent that his works, throughout his career, could not be defined as Cubism, or Expressionism. He painted how he felt – yes, periods dictated a certain style, but the Master that he was, he had the ability to excel in any style he wished, or felt as a poet, a printmaker and a story teller.” “I recall a conversation where Peter said, “I don’t paint in a style, I don’t paint how people want me to paint I paint what is around me and how I feel.” “He was “An Artist, who stayed true to his roots.”

ES “Explain to the readers why Peter Clarke’s Art works are fetching such high prices”

GS“I am often asked, with regards to Clarke’s works fetching such high prices – well, just like any collection is not complete, for example without a Stern, a Pierneef, or a Sekoto, there is a new champion on the block and no collection is now complete, without a Peter Clarke and similar to the artists above, certain periods or subject matter, within the artists life command a higher price.”  

GS Buying and selling Peter Clarke: The art works of Peter Clarke are an investment obtainable at prices varying from R48, 000.00, for a graphic print to R1 800, 000.00 for a painting.” 

ES “Discuss “Gary Shean Fine Art”

GS” It has taken me ten years to build on a solid foundation, experience and knowledge and it is now the right time to introduce “Gary Shean Fine Art” to the South African Art community. “I am now feeling comfortable, with whom I am within the art industry and that I can indeed provide a specialized service to clients. This gives me the tools that are needed to advise both corporate and private collectors about their collections.”  “With “Gary Shean Fine Art,” I offer the service of advising on collections, with regards what to sell or what to buy. Often, I would suggest to a collector that its quality over quantity for example when dealing, with a client who has over 2000 works in their collection we would discuss, which works to sell and then invest the funds into current and more substantial works available on the market today.” “As a consultant one must be able to keep an eye on the Local, National and International Fine Art market movements globally. At the touch of a button one can see and find the works being sold together with their price estimates on a show in London, New York, Cape Town or Paris. I always advise clients to follow the sales of works purchased. Often the client will find that a work has sold for three or four times more than the estimate, this is an indication that the work was offered at a very conservative amount and that it was, in the general public’s mind, worth much more.”

“I maintain that art is exciting in the sense that it evokes one of several emotions to be found in both the seller and the buyer. There is much to choose from in contemporary art, abstract, political, social/realism and expressionism for example and serious buyers need to be advised what to look for when wanting to invest in an asset for their home environment or family infrastructure.“

“Should they tire of the piece, it is likely that they would want to sell it again” “Forming a collection of paintings is a most interesting and rewarding experience. However, art must be wisely selected with professional advice. I assist clients to build collections that express their own individuality, providing the provenance and background to each painting, and advising on framing and hanging as well as other aspects of collecting.”(Green 1955).

ES“A consultant, such as Gary Shean, with knowledge of the works, is needed to advise the buyer correct prices, as works vary in size and technique.”

For further information or any enquries on Peter Clarke, please contact or 0794925260

(Acknowledgment Richard Green 1955)
Accessed July 2018
Further quotes and information used in the article accredited to Gary Shean