SA art surprises at London auction

2010-03-25 08:34

London - Work by South African artists like Jacob Pierneef, Gerard Sekoto and Maggie Laubser fetched a total of R28.5m at a London auction on Wednesday.

The sale sold 82% of the 135 works by 42 South African artists for £2.6m (R28.5m), spokesperson for auction house Bonhams, Julian Roup, said in a statement.

Pierneef, Laubser and Sekoto all beat pre-auction estimates.

"The top priced work in the sale was by Pierneef, titled 'An Extensive View of Farmlands' which sold for £356 000 (R3.9m) against an estimate of £120 000 to  180 000.

"The sale's catalogue cover lot by Gerard Sekoto, 'Market Street Scene, Cape Town', sold for £192 000(R2.1m) against an estimate of £120 000 to £180 000, and a Maggie Laubser, 'Woman Wearing a Red Doek', estimated at £20 000 to £30 000 sold for £50 400 (R554 000)."

Two other historically-important South African items, were sold in private deals prior to the auction.

This included the South African flag signed by former Presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk on Mandela's inauguration in 1994, and a 1955 copy of the ANC's Freedom Charter.

The former was sold to an anonymous South African businessman now living in London, with the intention of returning the flag to South Africa. The latter was sold in a deal with the Lilliesleaf Trust.

- Sapa