Aspire Initiates a New Era in Art Auctions

05 Sep 2016

New art auction house, Aspire, launches its first auction on 31 October 2016 at The Park on 7 in Hyde Park. With a dream team of knowledgeable art experts aware of the phenomenal global growth of the art market, Aspire Art Auctions aims to inject new energy into the local art industry through its sole focus on great quality work, superbly photographed and presented in an image-centric catalogue design featuring articles commissioned from a range of acknowledged art writers.

Emma Bedford, Jacqui Carney, Mary-Jane Darroll and Ruarc Peffers, with over eighty years’ experience in the art world, form the powerhouse of art specialists who are bringing new life to the auction world. This formidable team caught the attention of renowned businessmen, Brian Joffe and Adrian Gore, who are providing the backing and support to launch this new auctioneering firm.

Aspire’s auctions embrace a wider range of historical, modern and contemporary art from stellar, high value items rarely seen on the market to eminently collectable works by younger artists who, in the expert opinion of its specialists, are worth collecting. Top paintings by Irma Stern, produced during the period widely regarded as the highpoint of her career, include the 1946 oil, Malay Girl, and two superb gouaches painted on consecutive visits to the Congo in 1942 and 1946.

Alexis Preller’s painting, Profile Figures (Mirrored Image) of 1968, is so highly regarded that it was 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. Its installation at the front entrance, to be seen directly on entering the exhibition, is keenly remembered by art historian and artist, Karel Nel, whose authoritative catalogue text provides unique insights into this key work.

Significant works by artists who developed particular visions of the South African landscape include JH Pierneef’s Karoo near Hofmeyer, Hugo Naudé’s early pastoral vision, Drying Fruit (1896) and his later spectacular eruption of colour captured in Springtime, Namaqualand. By contrast, Maggie Laubser’s Portrait of a Woman with a Head Scarf and Gerard Sekoto’s Group Talking offer astute observations of people.

A wonderfully provocative erotic painting by Walter Battiss, which radically subverts the history of the nude as well as representations of race and gender, is guaranteed to cause a stir in the auction room. Robert Hodgins is represented by a range of brilliant works from his epic The Weather in the Streets, through Totems in a Desert and Studies of Buddies to HUSBAND vs WIFE. Two early Cake paintings by Penny Siopis are amongst her most sought-after works while Diane Victor’s sensitive drawings produced with fugitive media evoke the fragility of existence.

Erik Laubscher’s striking Still life with jug and apples was produced in the interregnum between his studies under Maurice van Essche and his move to Paris in 1950 to further his tuition at the Académie Montmartre where the Cubist painter Fernand Léger proved to be a major influence. In later painting trips through areas like the Kouebokkeveld, he and Stanley Pinker produced some of their most impressive paintings, examples of which feature prominently on this auction.

Edoardo Villa’s pioneering use of steel in combination with found objects resulted in a unique vision that forged European art traditions with African forms. Homage to Maillol, a definitive work from 1965, celebrates the fullness of the female form so central to the French modernist sculptor’s oeuvre.

Young artists are well represented with extraordinary works in a range of media by Wim Botha, Zander Blom, Athi-Patra Ruga, Ed Young and Dan Halter. Michael MacGarry’s sculpture incorporating a film prop from District 9, with all the talismanic power of an African icon and a contemporary cultural fetish, is sure to be a winner.

Media Liaison:
Jacqui Carney +27 71 675 2991

Aspire Art Auctions
Inaugural auction | 31 October 2016 | Evening Sale | 8pm
The Park on 7 | Hyde Park Corner | Johannesburg

Auction preview:
Friday 28 October 10am to 5pm
Saturday 29 October 10am to 5pm
Sunday 30 October 10am to 4pm

Emma Bedford | | +27 83 391 7235
Jacqui Carney | | +27 71 675 2991
Mary-Jane Darroll | | +27 82 567 1925
Ruarc Peffers | | +27 84 444 8004
Image Caption
Alexis Preller | Profile Figures (Mirrored Image) | 1967 | Oil on canvas | 91.5 x 101.5 cm
Courtesy of Nina Lieska, Repro Pictures

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