Aspire launches new art auction concept

11 Jul 2019

Aspire Art Auctions has been defined in its relatively short time in the local art market by its commitment to innovation and lateral thinking. Its latest strategy reflects this approach by offering clients an entirely new way of interacting with the business and buying art and design.

The auction house has developed a fully integrated sales platform in order to provide its clients with the easiest process possible to do exactly that.  The business has announced the launch of the new platform, in addition to its four main LIVE auctions in the year, titled ONLINE&LIVE | Curated Gallery Auctions.

“Currently our four LIVE catalogue auctions in the calendar year are the main focus of our sales platform”, explains Aspire MD Ruarc Peffers. “We’ve also been offering newer collectors or those who, for whatever reason, aren’t physically able to attend live auctions, a series of online-only auctions throughout the year, titled TIMED ONLINE. Now we have developed a platform that will make doing business with Aspire even more convenient and refined for our clients, and will integrate the existing TIMED ONLINE technology with our established LIVE sales platform. This will provide our clients with a platform where they can bid in their preferred method, at their convenience, while maintaining our standards of quality and selectivity. We want to demystify the online bidding process and make it more accessible, and ONLINE&LIVE | Curated Gallery Auctions is the way to do it.”

The new platform will comprise a combined online and live auction four times a year, taking place at Aspire’s galleries, either in Johannesburg or Cape Town. The sales will open one week prior to the live auction event where bidding will commence online. Clients will be able to browse the sale catalogue and place bids online through the website or app during the week prior to the live sale. Bids placed on the online platform will then be assimilated into the live auction as existing commission (absentee) bids, and the sale itself will then be conducted as a live auction at the close of the timed online bid intake. When registered, online and app bidders can enter the live auction, either in person, or enter bids remotely from their devices as the auction commences – bidding in real-time from the comfort of where they are, but in a live auction environment. If they are outbid during the live auction, all online bidders will be afforded the chance to bid in real-time.

Auction lots will be on display and viewable at the relevant Aspire office conducting the sale, and will be on preview for the duration of the open online bidding week. To add to the ease of the process, absentee and telephone bidding functionality is also available if preferred by the client.

Curated auctions

With its abiding focus on quality over quantity, Aspire has developed a reputation for selectivity and discernment. The ONLINE&LIVE | Curated Gallery Auction platform will build on this theme and allow the company to present focused collections of critically engaged, historically relevant, pioneering art and design. Each work will be carefully selected according to the overarching theme and based on its quality and significance. The first sale to be themed under the new rubric will take place at Aspire’s Johannesburg gallery on 30 July 2019.

This inaugural auction will comprise two curated sessions:

  • 20th Century Pioneers
  • Rising Contemporaries

Aspire has established a reputation as the principal conduit to sell work in both these categories, so launching the new auction platform with work in these segments makes sense. Further, this focus assists the company in developing their customary practice of insightful research, world-class presentation and museum-quality displays. Says Aspire Director and Senior Art Specialist Emma Bedford, “The time is right in the local auction market for a focus on South African art by under-represented artists, mostly from the late 20th Century. The recent high-profile survey show A Black Aesthetic at Johannesburg’s Standard Bank Gallery proves this point, and Aspire has done much to develop value in this market segment.”

The Rising Contemporaries portion will see selected, top-quality examples of works by artists in the contemporary segment whose value for collectors is on the rise. Concludes Bedford: “Aspire is well-known as the company that pioneered contemporary art in the South African secondary market, as well as for our unrivalled knowledge and experience in this field. These facts are manifest in the results and numerous records we have achieved, and our clients look to us for guidance in forward-looking acquisitions and collecting strategies for the future. This platform is ideal for us to provide exactly that service and to develop the themes and strategies we have introduced since our inception”.