Babobski's Blog: News and opinions from South Africa and around the world

A South African blog with an international flavour

South African Art sells for record prices

with 46 comments

The Brett Kebble art collection went on auction last week and raised R 54 million. Some artists’ paintings received record prices, which is quite amazing in this economic climate.

Yet, art experts have been saying for at least five years now that South African art is a good investment and should form part of a diversified portfolio.

Below:  An undiscovered gem:  Gawie Cronje, an old school South African landscape artist who lived in the Eastern Cape

G Cronje 1 web

Many people, when hearing about art and oil paintings tend to think about Van Gogh and Van Rijn. However, there are secondary art markets around the world and South Africa has a flourishing art market as well.

Kebble’s collection included the big names in South African art. J.H. Pierneef, Alexis Preller, Irma Stern, Nita Spilhaus, Maud Sumner, Vladimir G. Tretchikoff, Jan Volschenk and Pieter Wenning were just some of the names Kebble had collected.

One of the Irma Stern painting sold for R 5 013 000 at the auction, held in Johannesburg.

His Pierneef sold for R 267 000 and a Jan Volschenk achieved a world record price of R 668 000.

Not all of us have the resources of a Brett Kebble so how does one go about collecting art?

Below:  Casey Van Der Leek  will carry on the tradition of landscape paintings in South Africa.

Casey web

In the South African context, Irma Stern, Hugo Naude, WH Coetzer and JH Pierneef are regarded as old masters. It would be difficult to buy any of their painting cheaply and when a quality piece comes on the market, it will reach premium prices.

Then there are the masters. Included in this group of artists, are Adriaan Boshoff, Gregiore Boonzaaier, Frans Claerhout, Gabriel De Jong, Pieter van der Westhuizen, Otto Klar and Errol Boyley.

Many of these artists died in the past few years and the prices of their works have risen accordingly. A Claerhout oil painting will set one back around R 100 000, while a Boshoff oil painting under R 50 000 could be considered a bargain.

An elderly gentleman in the Eastern Cape bought an Otto Klar oil painting for R 200 in 1972. That same painting is valued at R 38 000 today and that is a conservative estimate.

Other investment art is called contemporary and would include artists such as Christiaan Nice, Anton Benzon, Wessel Marais, Corne Weidemann, Philip Britz and Casey van der Leek.

These artists should realize a good return over a longer period of time and are all well regarded in the art world.

Then one gets the artists who work towards a specific theme, like the surf artists. Stephen Bibb has made a name for himself with his ocean orientated paintings with dolphins and waves gracing the canvas. Martin Bakker is another surf artist to keep an eye on for an investment. More articles about South African surf artists can be found here

Below:  Stephen Bibb:  Moonrise over Supertubes Jeffreys Bay.  Bibb is well renowned for his surf art and gains his inspiration from the ocean.

Bibb moon web

What could you buy with R 1 000 000?

A good JH Pierneef or an Irma Stern if you lucky.

What could I buy with R 100 000?

Keep your eyes open for an Adriaan Boshoff or an Errol Boyley.  Boshoff is regarded as the finest South African impressionist artist and a small Boshoff painting will cost around R 30 000 – R 35 000 at least.

Errol Boyley died in 2007 and his paintings are in demand.  The prices of his paintings seem to have settled down but will pick up again once the economy turns.

What could I buy for R 10 000?

Casey van der Leek or a Philip Britz would offer good value and growth.  Van Der Leek is regarded as one of the new generation of South African landscape artists and his paintings are in demand locally and internationally.  Philip Britz studied under Christiaan Nice and is becoming known for his District 6 paintings and donkey carts on farm road landscapes.

There are also the undiscovered masters, one of them being Gawie Cronje whose landscapes grace the homes of many art lovers in the Eastern Cape.  Cronje can certainly be regarded as a peer of Gabriel De Jong and his paintings will appreciate in value and presently offer value for money.

It is worthwhile to cultivate a good relationship with a reputable art gallery. Often the galleries will look after their regular clients and you have the assurance of being able to sell your art again, should the need arise.

Art auctions are another avenue to build an art collection. One may find bargains on auction from time to time so never stop searching.

Art is like any other investment. Money is rarely made overnight and art is a longer term investment. The bonus is that you can enjoy your paintings hanging on your walls more than looking at a share certificate. So yes, money may not grow on trees but it certainly grows on walls.


46 Responses

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  1. Hello,
    I search photos of Irma Stern’watercolors for a billet about her
    Thank you


    June 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm

  2. Hi
    How much does a Gawie cronje painting go for these days. I have 2 of his here very nice to look at, and has been in our family since I can remember. The 1 is 80cm x 50cm the other one is 110cm x 80cm

    Thanks reinche

    Reinche Rathbone

    September 14, 2009 at 6:54 pm

  3. Hi Reinche

    Gawie died in 2008 and his painting are increasing in value as a result. A small oil of his (20cmx30cm I think) went on auction for R 2000. I personally own 3 paintings of this size but wouldnt sell for that price.

    I would estimate that your 80cm x 50m should fetch around R 6000 and the 110cm x 80 xm around R 8000. However try hold onto them for a while longer, they should increase in value even more, once the economy turns. Do you have pictures of the paintings?


    September 15, 2009 at 6:04 am

  4. Gawie is THE undiscovered gem. I have a beautiful Eastern Cape farm landscape bought for R800 in 1986 (together with two Tugwells at R1 000 each). Cronje deserves more research. He may be the only recorder of Eastern Cape frontier farms. He captures the isolation and solitude of the farms. You can almost sense the ghosts of the San in the kloofs. Definitely a masters project for a Rhodes student to research and provide us art lovers with a comprehensive bibliography of this underestimated artist.


    September 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  5. Hi Ian

    I have to agree with you. 3 Gawie Cronje paintings form the base of my art collection and it is a pity that he is not better respected in the art world. His son, Pierre owns an art gallery in Jeffreys Bay and it is well worth a visit.


    October 6, 2009 at 5:37 am

  6. Hi

    Must agree with comments about Gawie Cronje. Bought a painting by him at an auction for R7500 simply because of the painting itself, only to learn of him later though this site. I’ve seen some online photos of his other art but i must state that the painting i recently bought is simply outstanding. It would be great to create / see a site of a collection of his artwork and rediscover the range of his work. Photo available.


    October 6, 2009 at 6:56 pm

  7. Hi Gary

    I think you have a brilliant idea and we can use a wordpress blog to showcase Gawie’ s work. You could send a picture of your painting to

    What size is your painting?


    October 7, 2009 at 9:55 am

  8. Great art by our great artists!


    October 13, 2009 at 10:47 am

  9. Hi Nikita.

    It seems like our artists are receiving world wide recognition, which is great for them and for South Africa.


    October 13, 2009 at 6:28 pm

  10. hi babobski, I hope you don’t mind if I blog Gawie Cronje’s art…I will link to you. I love it…I have a few SA artists work on my blog too. Pierneef/Batis…etc. I would love to have this one, also, I play on – registered long ago on gameknot, but don’t play there. My time is little, I don’t have many games going now. I do play real time sometimes on chesscube too. Give me a shout if you wanna play on Link to register is on my sidebar. Good news about the SA artists. Leone Spies is also brilliant..she lives in Wales – I met her in 2001 and have some of her art on my blog too.


    October 13, 2009 at 7:52 pm

  11. […] and click here for more beautiful art on babobski’s […]

    Brilliant art « Chessalee

    October 13, 2009 at 8:23 pm

  12. Hi

    Found a bit more on Gawie Cronje from a reseller of his work. Towards the end of his life, he struggled to maintain himself as an artist. As such the reseller undertook to buy a painting a month from him, many of which are now being sold on BidorBuy by Dave Preller.

    Here is the link to the background information provided by D Preller on Gawie Cronje:

    Great to get a bit more on this terrific artist.


    November 20, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  13. Thanks for the visit rsaart. You have some fine Cronje’s in your collection. Casey van Der leek is another under rated South African artist and you have some fine paintings of him as well.


    November 30, 2009 at 9:11 am

  14. i have a charcoel drawing by Karl Buchner and a Cecil Scotness lithigraph
    what would these fetch

    Wizzie geobler

    February 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm

  15. I havea Karl Bucnner charcoal drawing and a Cecil Scotness lithograph
    What would these fetch

    Wizzie Grobler

    February 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm

  16. Hi all,

    I have 4 Otto Klar paintings, 2x oil and 2x chalk. i am planning to sell them but would like and idea if what it will be worth….
    Can any one help with this as well as where is the best place to sell them?
    Please mail me:


    April 5, 2010 at 7:29 am

  17. I have an old painting of Wessel Marais – painting of fisherman and boat.

    How will I know what the value of this painting is?


    October 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm

  18. hallo daar

    Ek het n olie skildey van g cronje van n kaap se huis hy is 1.2m x 600 foto beskikbaar by wie kan ek hoor hoeveel is hy werd en vir wie kan ek die foto stuur antwoord asb.


    August 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm

  19. What a frankly incredible read!!!


    October 24, 2011 at 7:38 am

  20. I work for an NGO which has been in SA for 125 years. Recently we discovered that one of the paintings is an original (until now, ‘lost’) Volschenk. We have been told to expect between R30-50 000 for this painting, which is going on auction mid-February. Do you have any comments for art illiterates like ourselves?

    Sharon Lindeque (011) 403-3830

    January 26, 2012 at 7:37 am

  21. I want to contact Babobski in connection with a painting on leather by Gawie Cronje. (poker drawing ?? ) It is a burnt painting on leather more or less 80mmx110mm. I want an estimated value.
    Its a Bushveld scene, two male lions looking from a hill to the plain below them.

    Hendrik Pretorius

    March 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm

  22. I also own an original Cronje that l’m considering to sell. Its roughly 900*600. My parents bought it from the artist in the early 70’s. How do l go about that and how would l know if was being taken for a ride by a dealer or collector? I’ll gladly mms a photo 2 a serious buyer. And of course the all-important “how much to expect” question..

    Gavin Stark

    April 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm

  23. I have an Eduoard Cortes painting titled Twilight in Paris and want to know how much i can get for it.These painitngs is very rare and difficult to buy.Can someone email me to direct me to a potential buyer for this exquisite painitng.THANX

    curshin septoo

    June 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm

  24. Any comments on a Marie Vermeulen Breedt?

    Russell Baxter

    July 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

  25. Hi there
    I want to sell a oil painting by Adriaan Boshoff
    It is 123cm by 62cm and wants R350 000.00 for it
    It has mother and little girl, lam and rooster infront of barn door..
    Where can I sell it?


    February 13, 2013 at 10:56 am

  26. Hi there, after reading this awesome piece of writing i am also glad to share my
    experience here with mates.

  27. Hi Babobski,

    I have an original Gawie Cronje painting. The certificate of authenticity states the date is 1988 for R1500.00 at the Leonardo Art Gallery. The painting is a Landscape and 1m x 1.5m in size.
    Who can I contact in order to have it re-evaluated and get in contact with potential buyers? I live in Walvis Bay, Namibia and any knowledge towards him and his paintings are extremely limited. I want to sell it as soon as possible and will e-mail a photo of the painting if requested. Thank you very much. Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding the painting.

    Lize Grobler

    May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm

  28. Hi there

    I have a collections of different artworks n paintings my late rich uncle left me inorder to help pay 4 my medical studies and help me financially. May u please contact me or let me know where and how I can get the paintings for evaluations? Thank you (0789210484)


    September 2, 2013 at 11:44 am

  29. I have a stunning original Gawie Cronje painting- Valley of a Thousand Hills -1m x 1.5 that I would like to sell. Excellent condition! How much could I sell this for? 0791454893 Louise

    Louise Knipe

    September 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm

  30. Hi ek het 2 oorspronklike olieverf skilderye van Gawie Cronje en wil dit verkoop indien iemand belangstel kan julle my email sodat ek fotos kan stuur. Dit is in 1962 gekoop in Witbank. Dit is kaapse tonele.

    Miekie du Randt

    October 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm

  31. Goeiedag
    Ek wil verneem wat oorspronklike skilderye van Claerhout vandag werd is. Dit is 1 x .75 m. Sal bly wees om die waarde daarvan te verneem.

    Mandie du Toit

    January 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm

  32. The best way to track authentic van Claerhout is through sales made on BidorBuy.

    G Watkins

    January 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm

  33. I have an original Claerhout and would like to know its value. My dad was a journalist at the time and we went to his mission (I remember the huge hedges shaped like animals). My older sister at the time was just recovering from scarlet fever and was losing her hair. Fr Claerhout laid hands on her and she was miraculously healed. While we were there he sketched a nude for my dad which I now have. It has serious sentimental value (for obvious reasons) but need a value for insurance purposes.

    Robyn Mitchell

    February 6, 2014 at 7:41 am

  34. Good day, i have a W.H.Coetzer original sketch of the voortrekker monument dated back 1949, what would its value be


    February 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

  35. Hi,
    I inherited an Errol Boyley painting and would like to get more information about it. Who would I contact >>

    Penny Botha

    April 26, 2014 at 6:51 am

  36. Hi, I have a WH Coetzer painting with frame. It is a 1938 painting of Die groot trek van die Drakensberg. How much are the value of this painting. It is a little damage. People throw it away and I took it, because it look very old. Thanks


    June 10, 2014 at 9:39 am

  37. Do you perhaps have a photograph of the painting?


    June 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

  38. Wanting to find out how much a Wessel Marais copper bowl with half a pawpaw, red apple, green apple, 2 bananas,pear and scattered grapes around it is worth

    lynn daniels

    July 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

  39. Good day
    I’ve got a oil painting of Voortrekker monument on canvas by A Strydom and would either get a valuation or put it up for auction.
    If u can assist please.
    A van Zyl

    Anton van Zyl

    August 23, 2014 at 5:26 am

  40. Hello,

    I have 3 paintings I would like some information on please. One is a very large Gawie Cronje (103×75) then a painting by Boris Chezar (98×144)..also quite large and a painting by Errol Boyley (59×75)..Could you please tell me who I can contact. I am from George…or could I send you some pictures?

    Many thanks


    August 12, 2015 at 10:07 am

  41. Hi i got 4 portrais with old houses. I want to kmow how much is it worth


    March 20, 2016 at 12:38 pm

  42. Hi I have a sea scape painted by Chris Tugwell painted when he was very young, does it have any value

    Maria Adamson

    April 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

  43. Good morning. I am selling a W H Coetzer painting 1832 I think it was the “groot trek” . It was valued by a SA art gallery $125 000 ten years ago. Its an urgent sale. Yhr probkem is I am in Namibia. Please anyone out there either call or e mail me if intetrsted. 0027 816475253.

    Erna E Honnes

    May 28, 2016 at 7:31 am

  44. I have an Otto Klar 30 x 12 and Andre de Beer painting for sale


    October 6, 2016 at 10:29 am

  45. Hi I have an original sand and oil painting 61cm x 91.4cm by Chezar it was bought in 1983 it is a street scene I think in Paris. I was wondering if anyone could help me in finiding out how much it is worth.

    Debbie jordaan

    November 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

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