About Aspire Art Auctions

20 Jul 2016

2016 saw the birth of Aspire Art Auctions, a South African-based, specialist auctioneering company formed in the climate of the country’s rapidly growing art industry. At the core of Aspire is a small team with unequalled knowledge and experience in the South African art industry – the primary market, the secondary market, the museum industry, and historical and contemporary discourse. Our exclusive focus on art is forward-looking and ensures a greater relevance to today’s context. Targeting the upper end of the market, Aspire offers quality work by twentieth century practitioners, as well as identifying and presenting the strongest examples of contemporary art.

On 31 October 2016, Aspire launched its Johannesburg inaugural auction with 121 lots achieving R35 million, with the highest lot average of all the market players in the last quarter of 2016.

Excellent results were achieved for key metrics such as sell-through rate, where we achieved a total of 80% sold; the average hammer price which topped R320,000; and the highest accuracy level of our pre-auction valuations, which reflect the real market value of a work. For all value ranges, Aspire has proven to be the most accurate in pre-sale estimations. Our accuracy and experience is unparalleled within this market.

A detailed analysis of the market environment revealed the following important factors.

  1. Estimate Accuracy: Aspire’s sell through rate was within 3-5% accuracy in relation to its mid-estimate point. The value we ascribe to a work is a real, market-related amount – crucially, this results in a realistic achievement in the open market.
  1. Sell-through rate: In Aspire’s inaugural auction of 121 lots, 97 works sold, resulting in an 80% sell-through rate. This is in line with the top industry standards and considerably higher than the majority of our competitors, locally and abroad. Producing focused sales with fewer lots ensures an exclusive focus on each individual work and a high standard of presentation. Similarly, this focus provides the best level of service for every client.
  1. Highest lot-average value: Aspire’s decision to curate concise auctions which focus on quality, variety and significance, rather than a numbers driven total, resulted in the highest average lot value for our inaugural auction.

Aspire’s vision places art, sustainability, and the development of the industry at its core; the sustainability of the practitioners and the professionals that have made this market what it is today rests at the heart of our value system. We are committed to the industry and its greater community, producing curated auctions which uphold the significance of established artists whilst building a market for the future.

In a short time, Aspire has already driven change for the better in the market. We are the first auction house in South African history to implement the long-awaited Artist Resale Right, paying living, South African artists royalties on the resale of their works of art. Historically referred to as the droit de suite(French for “right to follow”), this investment back into the industry acknowledges the value of authorship and ensures the support of artists.

Our pioneering approach to the development and eco-system of the market, encourages diversity and inclusivity. Aspire’s engagement within the market extends across the whole spectrum of the industry, from the artist, to the collector, and all the structures in between. We work closely with South Africa’s top conservators, framers, curators and specialists on a daily basis. The contributions to this catalogue from twenty of the country’s finest arts writers, journalists and academics, highlights our collaborative network. This symbiosis also ensures the highest standard for both our buyers and sellers.

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