New Auction House Expands the Art Market

15 Jun 2016

Earlier this month, news broke that Mary Jane Darroll and Ruarc Peffers have teamed up to form Aspire Art Auctions. With financial backing from businessmen Brian Joffe and Adrian Gore, this new auctioneering firm intends to preserve and develop the African art market while raising the profiles of African artists abroad.

With collective experience of over 37 years in the art industry, Darroll and Peffers are creating an auction house with a clear vision that focuses entirely on the promotion of the fine arts, stemming from their respective careers in the field.

Since completing her Masters in Fine Arts degree, Darroll has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in auctions, as well as curating important historical and contemporary exhibitions. She is a former curator of the Standard Bank Gallery and Corporate Collection. During her tenure at the Bank she was also fine art coordinator of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Subsequently she was head of the paintings department at Stephan Welz & Co and later a director of the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg. Following this she was a founder member and executive director of Strauss & Co. Most taking up the positions of curator and art project director at the Nirox Sculpture Park.

Peffers began as intern for Stephan Welz & Co in association with Sotheby’s and progressed to become director and head of the art department. After obtaining an MSc degree in History, Curating and Criticism from the University of Edinburgh he joined the primary market with Blank Projects. More recently he returned to the auction industry as senior art specialist and auctioneer at Strauss & Co. He has worked on many local and international art fairs including Frieze London and The Cape Town Art Fair. He regularly conducts charity auctions for Artist Proof Studios, ABSA, Art Angels, the Cancer Association, WWF and the Wits School of Art.

Aspire Art Auctions, in a gesture largely unprecedented in the present market, will produce curated auctions of top-quality historical, modern and contemporary African and South African art. Exclusive focus on art and the creation of the best possible context in which to display the artworks will make Aspire Art Auctions unique in the local auction world.

It is widely accepted that the success of the art market is enhanced by a strong secondary market to underscore and support its market values. The sustainability of the historical market is also affected, as collectors require a strong secondary market that supports the resale of their artworks. Aspire Art Auctions launches with a live auction in Johannesburg in October 2016. They will also present an online auction platform.

For further information, free valuations and consigning art for auction, contact:

Johannesburg Mary-Jane Darroll | 082 567 1925 | Ruarc Peffers | 084 444 8004 |

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