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Posts Tagged ‘south african investment art

South African Art Market remains firm

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Despite the turmoil experienced in the world’s economy in 2009, the year has proven that South African art has arrived on the international stage and can be considered as a sound investment.

The top end of the South African art market displayed considerable strength with Irma Stern’s Magnolias selling for R 7 241 000, a world record for a still life by Stern.

Irma Stern paintings remain South Africa's premier art investment. Photo

Showing this trend was no flash in the pan, Anton van Wouw’s sculpture Die Nooitjie van die Onderveld sold for R 946 900, the highest amount ever paid for a South African sculpture. These painting were sold at a recent auction of South African art by Bonhams in London.

Other South African old master artists also sold for the highest price ever, amongst them Wolf Kibel’s Self Portrait selling for R 1 225 400 and Jean Welz’s still life Cezannesque also selling for R 1 225 400. Maggie Laubsher achieved her highest ever amount for a painting and J.H. Pierneef’s paintings remain in demand and are escalating in value.  Pierneef’s painting, The Baobab Tree holds the record for a South African painting at R 11.8 million (GBP 826 400).

Maggie Laubsher seascape. Photo:

However the secondary South African art market is taking strain with art galleries and artists suffering due to a lack of demand from art buyers. Some artists have experienced a 30 % drop in the price of their paintings compared to two years ago and are battling to find buyers. A respected art gallery closed its doors in Johannesburg recently and galleries from other parts of South Africa are battling to keep the ship afloat.

However auction houses like Strauss and Co as well as Bernadies are doing very well with Stauss having achieved record sales during 2009.  This indicates that the reselling market is stronger than the “new painting” market at present.

JH Pierneef: The Baobab Tree. This painting holds the record for the most expensive South African painting ever sold at R 11.8 million.

There are less speculators buying art at the moment and it is the established artists whose painting are sought after by the buyers still in the market. This explains why artists like Gregoire Boonzaier, Gerald Sekoto, Amos Langdown and Alexis Preller are still selling for premium prices as buyers flee to proven quality. A Langdown oil under R 30 000 can be regarded as a good buy for a longer term investment.

Amos Langdown is one of South Africa's most respected seascape artists

An artist like Gabriel de Jong who is regarded as one of the masters of South African art, has seen little movement in the price of his paintings. The positive side is that there has not been a drop in value either and it may well be time to start investing in this South African landscape artist.

Other investment opportunities could be found in Errol Boyley who died in 2007. The value of his paining spiked in the past 24 months but seem to be pulling back a bit. Another artist where a bargain could possibly be found is Adriaan Boshoff whose work is now in demand internationally but prices seem to have stabilized at present. Boshoff is known as the best impressionist artist South Africa has produced.

Adriaan Boshoff paintings are highly sought after by art collectors from around the world. Photo:

Christiaan Nice paintings can also be found at reasonable values and Nice will be regarded as one of the masters of South African art in time to come. His paintings have been increasing in value for the past few years and will appreciate in the future. He is well known for his District 6 scenes and donkey carts.

Now is the time to buy art, no matter how tight the budget is for an astute art collector. Once the world recession ends, prices of painting will rise again. The trick is to buy right and invest in an artist who currently offers good value for money.

Philip Britz studied under Christiaan Nice and one can keep an eye out for one of his paintings. Britz paints rural landscape scenes as well as seascapes with the palette knife. He has painted some excellent District 6 scenes as well.

Should one be visiting Jeffreys Bay this summer, look out for art by the well known seascape artist Stephen Bibb who has recently started producing good oil paintings after working with acrylics for many years. Bibb is world renowned for his ocean inspired art and his paintings can still be obtained for reasonable prices.

Stephen Bibb: Ocean Dreams – a view from the Supertubes Park in Jeffreys Bay

Follow South African art on international auctions at Bonhams, London. More articles about South African art can be found here


Amos Langdown – master South African artist

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Art Amos Langdown and others 004 email

(Fisherman at the sea.  A typical Amos Langdown painting depicting the ocean on the Southern coast of Africa.)

The EPSAC art gallery in Port Elizabeth, South Africa  held an exhibition of Amos Langdown paintings recently. Langdown is one of the acknowledged South African master artists.

Amos was born and bred in Plettenberg Bay in 1930 and passed away in 2006  in Port Elizabeth was well known for his seascapes and ocean orientated scenes like boys fishing and can be regarded as the first of the South African surf artists.

Langdown managed to capture the beauty of the land and its people and was heavily influenced by the ocean. He grew up in Plettenberg Bay, a small fishing hamlet on the Southern coast of Africa that has expanded into a popular coastal holiday resort.

Seascape web

(above: people at the beach)

His father, a one-time open ocean whaler, made a living from the sea but was forced from the ocean to do odd jobs after the arrival of the Scandinavians with their whaling station in Plettenberg Bay.

He used to bring home the dirty paint brushes after a days work. Langdown would use those to create paintings that depict the little ordinary things that had happened during that day.

Langdown’s first solo exhibitions led to him being sponsored to study abroad. At this time he was already studying part-time at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT.

His mentor was the well known poet and author P. J. Philander who taught him at school in Plettenberg Bay. Their book Die Bruin Kokon is a selection of poems and illustrations.  Only 1000 editions were ever printed and Die Bruin Kokon has become a very rare and valuable book.

Langdown is one of the acknowledged South African landscape artists.  This reflects in the price of his paintings.  A  55cm x 44 cm “fishing village” painting is going for R 79000 in a reputable South African art gallery.  Similar size paintings and smaller have also been sold in the R 60 000 – R 70 000 price range.

Boys fishing web

Above: “boys fishing”

South African art prices are under pressure due to the lack of cash in the world and local economy and one can find a good painting on auction should an art investor be lucky.

A 44cm x 55cm painting entitled “fisher children playing with a wheelbarrow” was sold on auction in May for R 30 000.  Bargains like this are not common and good Langdown oil paintings of this size can be expected to fetch around R 60 000 – R 80 000 (about $ 10 000). More articles on South African artists can be found here