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Bonhams Directors in South Africa to seek more art

Posted on 15 February 2016

Bonhams Directors of South African Art, Giles Peppiatt and Hannah O'Leary, will be visiting the South Africa in February and March, to do valuations and to offer interviews on how South African art has come to achieve the prices it now commands.

With the staggering R17.9m price Bonhams London achieved for its latest Irma Stern painting, Arab in Black offered in London, it now has the pre-eminent position in selling South African art.

The international fine art auction house headquartered in London has over the past nine years increasingly dominated the trade in South African art sold at auction, delivering world record prices for artists like Stern, Pierneef and Sekoto whose work has achieved previously unheard of prices. Selling in Sterling adds huge interest for South African clients.

Irma Stern's Arab Priest holds the record for SA paintings at £ 3 100 000

"In my opinion the art-market in SA is on the verge of being the key springboard for the larger African market. There has been such growth in contemporary African art, both from South Africa and further North, and South Africa deserves to be at the forefront of this market," says Peppiatt.

Currently Bonhams holds the record for eight out of the top ten South African pictures sold at auction - all of them by Irma Stern who stands head and shoulders above other South African artists of her generation. The other two pictures in the top ten prices achieved are also by her.

Bonhams London has set the world record prices for all the major African and South African artists:

ArtistTitleAuction Price
Irma Stern Arab Priest £ 3 100 000
Vladimir Tretchikoff Chinese Girl £ 980 000
Jacob Henry Pierneef Baobab Tree £ 780 000
Alexis Preller Garden of Eden £ 720 000
Gerard Sekoto Yellow Houses £ 650 000
El Anatsui New World Map £ 582 000
Ben Enwonwu Mirror Sculptures £ 433 000

"Modern African artists that should be followed and will in my opinion continue to appreciate are: El Anatsui, Ben Enwonwu and William Kentridge. The one artist who I think that will eventually eclipse all these African hands is the South African Gerard Sekoto. I would not be surprised if we sell a work by Sekoto for over a £ 1 million in the next ten years," states Peppiatt.

For more information please contact Julian Roup at or call +44 189 2669200 or +44 079 70563958.

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