Aspire Art’s recent auction sale in Johannesburg achieves new records for artists

Aspire Art’s recent auction sale in Johannesburg achieves new records for artists

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS

New records by a number of artists have been achieved at Aspire Auction’s recent auction sale held in Johannesburg, with celebrated South African multi-disciplinary artist topping the sale. IN the recent sale there is also an increased representation of African artists from the rest of the continent, whose works also performed well on the auction floor. Those who bid for the works on auction also came from a number of geographies other than South Africa, such as overseas, suggesting that the interest in African contemporary art keeps on growing among collectors around the world.Kentridge’s Blue Head, 1993 – 1998 sold for R2,048,400.00, a World Auction Record for this print, again cementing the artist’s increasing global footprint.
“Aspire Art’s latest offering in Johannesburg again demonstrated the company’s position and strength in the strategic art segments in which it specialises. Contemporary art took centre stage alongside impressive 20th Century pieces and a special focus on editioned prints by William Kentridge, coinciding with the recent release of the artist’s Volume 1 catalogue raisonné of prints and posters, published by Steidl.

Our winter-season live auction took place on Wednesday, 7 June. The 58-lot sale featured a focused collection of specially selected top-calibre works, highlighting our approach to smaller, curated collections, centred on quality over quantity.

Delivering strong results with a sell-through of 75%, the auction attracted active bidders from South Africa, Madagascar, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia and Dubai with 47% of the buyers being first-time buyers with Aspire.

An impressive 24% of the works sold achieved prices above the high estimate and 67% within the estimate range,” the company said after releasing the results yesterday.

Top Lot

William Kentridge, Blue Head, 1993 – 1998 sold for R2,048,400.00, World Auction Record for this print

The leading lot by value was William Kentridge’s iconic Blue Head from 1993-1998, which sold for a record-breaking R2,048,400.00 after fierce and competitive bidding. Forming part of a limited edition of only 35, the Blue Head series, which saw the artist working on large-scale copper plates for the first time, is extremely scarce and highly sought after.
A world auction record was achieved for the impressive large work Lien (2018) by Beninese contemporary artist Thierry Oussou which sold for R 251 625.00, well above its high estimate.

An early work by rising star Wonder Buhle Mbambo titled People of the Python (2016) achieved R 125,812.00, setting a new South-African auction record for the artist.

Marking her debut on auction in South Africa, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga’s poetic abstract work titled Before Winter (2016), realised R 102 938.00.
Other Top 10 performers include:

  • William Kentridge, Universal Archive (Six Birds), 2012. Sold for: R411,750.00
  • Jake Aikman, Surge, 2010. Sold for: R 297, 375.00
  • Nelson Makamo, Child with Glasses, 2020. SOLD FOR: R 297,375.00
  • Blessing Ngobeni, I am not a Sheep, 2017. SOLD FOR: R 274,500.00
  • Edoardo Villa, Abstract Torso. SOLD FOR: R274,500.00
  • Cinga Samson, Untitled (Two Figures), 2010. SOLD FOR: R240,188.00
  • Kudzanai Chiurai, Genesis [JE N’ ISI ISI] XII, 2016. SOLD FOR: R 205,875.00
  • Aida Muluneh, 99 Series (part two), 2013. SOLD FOR: R171,562.00
  • Aida Muluneh, 99 Series (part seven), 2013. SOLD FOR: R 171,562.00
  • Sam Nhlengethwa, Miriam Makeba, 2013. SOLD FOR: R142,969.00
    “We would like to thank all our clients who entrusted us with handling their artworks and all the bidders who participated and acquired works from the auction. We look forward to continuing an exciting year of auctions, private sales and advisory services to assist you in building collections of value.”
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