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“Any speculation that the South African art market was on the decline were dashed last night when new records were set for both historically important and contemporary artists. A larger than usual Wolf Kibel painting, Houses with Red Roofs, with an estimated value at R 3.4 million sold for R 3.2 million. And two early works by Penny Siopis went way above their presale estimates, with one selling for ten times more than expected.

Clearly there are some discerning buyers with deep pockets as the Maggie Laubser works attracted some spirited bidding with the ambitious estimates set by Strauss & Co being achieved or exceeded.

“There are however still many buyers around who still throw money at the conventional and decorative. The usual large scale Adriaan Boshoff and Hennie Nieman Jnr paintings attracted prices well above R 100 000. It would seem there is a renewed interest in the work of Christo Coetzee where the large works sold for just over twice the estimate continuing a trend from last year. There were also some disappointments that will have made some astute buyers more than happy with their acquisitions. A small but expertly abstract Alfred Krenz that was estimated quite optimistically compared to previous sales, sold within the estimate and a well executed Boonzaier view of District Six also sold for a reasonable price.

“This sale demonstrates that there is still a healthy confidence in the South African art market and that there is consistent interest in works of quality. There is certainly is a willingness to pay a considerable premium for rarity.”

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