(Johannesburg) – South Africans love local art and this is driving the repatriation of many of the country’s lost artworks.
Next week, a key work, Adam, by Alexis Preller, presumed lost for decades, goes on sale at an auction at Strauss & Co in Johannesburg and is expected to fetch up to R9-million. Its US owners decided to sell it in South Africa because of the local market’s spending power.
Adam will be sold alongside four other repatriated Preller works, which will all go under the hammer at the same auction as two Walter Battiss paintings brought back to South Africa from Australia. Earlier this year an Irma Stern was repatriated after an ex-pat, also in Australia, sold it.
“South African art is increasingly being returned to South Africa for sale at auction . reaffirming the globalisation and strength of the South African art market and its resultant appeal to sellers seeking the most suitable centre to sell their art,” said Bina Genovese, managing director of Strauss & Co.
Senior art specialist and director at Aspire Art Auctions, Mary-Jane Darroll, said the local market had grown year-on-year.
“Collectors are also coming to South Africa and looking at our local produce and they are seeing great content and fabulous execution,” she said.
Regina Isaacs, manager of the Heritage Objects Unit at the SA Heritage Resources Agency, said the organisation was pleased South African art works were returning.
She said there was no formal programme to repatriate heritage objects, including art, but that permits issued by the agency were required to export heritage goods.
This story was sourced from TimesLive