Quality Over Quantity at Aspire


Aspire Art Auctions’ inaugural sale on 31 October 2016, which took place in a new venue at The Park on 7 in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, was bursting at the seams with seasoned and new bidders, proving that the market is ripe for top quality art. Viewers complimented the curated selection of works on offer and the museum quality aesthetic of the installation.

Alexis Preller’s painting, Profile Figures (Mirrored Image) of 1968, selected by the artist and Dr. Albert Werth, the then-director of the newly built Pretoria Art Museum, to be prominently displayed on Preller’s acclaimed retrospective of 1972, achieved over R7-million.

The powerful yet modestly scaled William Kentridge Untitled (Colonial Landscape) achieved over R2-million. JH Pierneef’s unique and breathtaking Karoo near Hofmeyer, painted in 1930, achieved over R1,8-million.

Rare gouaches by Irma Stern were snapped up by keen bidders. Her Congolese Woman, 1946, sold for just under R2-million, while young Watussi dancer was one of a series of works on paper capturing the spectacular royal celebrations of the Fête Nationale in Kigali, Ruanda in 1942 fetched just under R800 000.

Edoardo Villa’s 1965 Homage to Maillol, achieved the highest price since Villa’s passing in 2011.

Contemporary art achieved new records at auction. Athi-Patra Ruga’s impressive tapestry, Convention…Procession…Elevation, achieved over R477 456. Two new records were set for Peter Schütz with African Daphne and Goddess of Transformation each achieving R125 048. Diane Victor’s Abomakgereza almost broke the R200 000 mark, while David Koloane’s Dog with Green Eyes nearly tripled his previous record at R107 996.

Previously neglected areas of South African art at auction, including photography, drew enthusiastic bidding. New records were set for Pieter Hugo at R204 624 and David Goldblatt at R159 152.

With a lot average of R315 000 and a sell-through rate of 75%, newcomer, Aspire Art Auctions’ results exceed all expectations. The company, which set out to produce focused, expertly curated sales of fewer works and a focus on quality, delivers on its promise.

Top sellers

  1. Alexis Preller Profile Figures (Mirrored Image) R7 048 160
  2. William Kentridge Untitled (Colonial Landscape) R2 046 240
  3. Irma Stern Congolese Woman R1 932 560
  4. William Kentridge Untitled (from Deluge series) R1 818 880
  5. JH Pierneef Karoo near Hofmeyer R1 818 880 (double the low estimate)
  6. Robert Hodgins The Weather in the Streets R1 250 480
  7. Edoardo Villa Homage to Maillol R1 136 800 (major record price for a Villa work in steel)
  8. Erik Laubscher Still life with jug and apples R966 280
  9. Irma Stern Watussi Dancer R795 760
  10. Alexis Preller Gold Abstract R682 080

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Image: Alexis Preller, Profile Figures (Mirrored Image) (detail), 1967