The International Art Market – Putting South Africa in the Picture


A presentation by Giles Peppiatt and Hannah O’Leary of Bonhams, the international fine art auction house, on the dramatic global rise in the value of South African art over the past decade

This event at the Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town on February 24th will introduce you to the two people most responsible for creating an international market for South African art over the last decade.

Giles Peppiatt auctioning South African art

They will be using the occasion to explain for the first time how this international market was created; speak about the many world records they have achieved for SA art; provide an analysis of the huge investment value of South African and African Contemporary Art; and explain why this has developed. They will also give their views on how this market is developing, explain the trends, indicate which artists are performing best internationally and why, and outline the challenges facing this market.

Bonham’s Director Giles Peppiatt and Head of South African ArtHannah O’Leary, hold the only specialist auctions of South African art outside of Africa. These twice-yearly South African Art Sales and the annual Contemporary African Art Sales in London and New York have created the majority of world records for the major artists across the continent. They hold the record for the most valuable work of art for any South African artist.“Arab Priest” by Irma Stern, which was sold to the Qatari Government for £3m (R34m) in 2012. Another milestone sale was the world record price for “New World Map” by the leading contemporary Ghanaian artist El Anatsuiwhich sold for $1m. Other records include: Tretchikoff £982,050(R13.8m); Pierneef £826,400(ZAR 12.4m);Preller £748,000(R8.4m); Sekoto £602,400 (ZAR 6.7m); and Pinker £337,250 (R4.7m).

After the event at the museum, there will be an opportunity for one-to-one interviews with both participants, who are considered the leading authorities on South African and African Contemporary Art working in the international art market. Bonhams has a presence in 27 countries on five continents and holds sales in London, Edinburgh, Oxford, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sydney and Hong Kong.

The international art world is waking up to the fact that Africa, and South Africa in particular, provides contemporary artists worth collecting, and that the continent is no longer simply a provider of traditional tribal art.

Besides South African art, Bonhams offers an entry to the international art and collectors’ market for some 60 categories of collectables,including Classic cars (a Ferrari 250 sold for a world record $38million); Old Master Pictures (a world record for a Fragonard at £17.2m) and Jewellery (a world record for a blue diamond at £6.2m) to name just three of these categories.

Bonhams specialists visit South Africa regularly to source fine art, jewellery, ceramics, glass, wine and classic cars. Because of the company’s international presence in these markets, it is able to take a work of art from South Africa and sell it in the country that currently has the most dynamic market for such items – for example, a piece of Asian porcelain would currently go to sale in Hong Kong.

Julian Roup of Bonhams Press Department will be visiting South Africa (Cape Town and Johananesburg) from January 26th to 31st to meet interested journalists who would like to set up press, TV and radio interviews on these subjects around the time of the February 24th presentation at the Irma Stern Museum.


For more information please email: julian.roup@bonhams.com or info@bendigopr.co.uk