Increasing Global Interest in Aspire Art’s Auctions

18 Jul 2017

Aspire Art Auctions’ second Johannesburg sale on 17 July 2017, at the Park on 7 in Hyde Park, attracted huge interest in the varied and superbly compiled range of contemporary, modern and historical work on offer. Aspire continues on its strategic path as a dynamic South African and international auction house, attracting widespread interest from local and global collectors, curators and buyers.

With a focus on South African, African and international contemporary and modern work, Aspire was delighted that artists like Edoardo Villa proved a big hit when the extraordinary sculpture, African Mask IV, with a high estimate of R400 000, sold for R966 280, hotly-contested between six phones as well as bidders in the room. Another Villa sculpture, Head (1966), sold for R704 816, well above its top estimate. Comments Director and Senior Art Specialist at Aspire, Emma Bedford, “These successes in specific parts of the market are testament to our focused and targeted approach to providing a new type of auction offering to the South African art market. As we earn our spurs in this competitive market, we’re proud to be able to sell works by black South African artists.” These include examples such as the incredible work, Children under Apartheid, by exiled artist Dumile Feni, which achieved R1 250 480, an auction record for the artist, and the contemporary work by Paris-based Moshekwa Langa, Mmatśie, achieving R318 304, breaking the previous auction record, also held by Aspire. These artists take their place alongside thesuccesses of works by Peter Clarke, Figures on a Path, Tesselaarsdal, which sold for R682 080, double its low estimate, and the recent Henri Cartier-Bresson International Award winner Guy Tillim, whose ten photographic portraits of Mai Mai militia sold for R477 456, almost double its high estimate. Ruarc Peffers, Director, Senior Art Specialist and auctioneer, comments: “We’ve are pleased to have done very well with contemporary work on this show, with artists like Diane Victor (Untitled, from Theatrical Characters series) fetching an impressive R204 624, a world record and Brussels-based Kendell Geers (Border Order) achieving R193 256, above its top estimate.” Aspire remains committed to pioneering the Artists Resale Right, an abiding commitment to the development of the industry and support of emerging and established artists.

Based on a curated approach, with fewer lots offered and a greater focus on quality, seasoned and new collectors competed to acquire significant works. The promotion of critically engaged art, assembled with the acknowledged expertise of Aspire’s specialists, has increased the levels of interest amongst the pool of local and international collectors and curators. Aspire’s strategy to expand into the global market resounded, with bidding present from around the world. The work by Chilean artist, Eugenio Dittborn, entitled 14th History of the Human Face, fetched a remarkable R522 928, more than five times its high estimate, while the Cameroonian born, Belgium based artist, Pascale Marthine Tayou’s work Das Kapital sold for R136 416.

An ongoing programme of media and public exposure ran up to the auction, with a preview weekend of viewing with walkabouts conducted by art experts attracting many interested viewers. A special tour of some of the works on show saw contemporary South African female artists whose work is on the auction speak to the public about their work. Among contemporary and historical work by women on auction, Window, by Penny Siopis, sold for R238 728, more than double its opening estimate. Interest in historic art by the famous Everard Group was very high, with Bertha Everard’s Yellow Fields with Cloud andShadows, selling for R250 096, almost three times its high estimate, on par with the world record price. Bertha’s daughter Rosamund Everard-Steenkamp’s painting entitled Fugue in Colour, sold for R409 248 over double its high estimate.

Consistent with Aspire’s ethos of museum-quality presentation and display, the curated setting once again received unanimously positive responses.

Experienced Director and Senior Art Specialist, Mary-Jane Darroll concludes: “We’re fast carving ourselves a niche in this market, and our successes are something we will celebrate and continue to build.”


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