NEW YORK—Bonhams’s sale of South African art in London on Oct. 14 realized £2.5million ($4million) for 174 lots offered. By lot, the auction was 75 percent sold; by value, the auction was 69 percent sold. Six new artist auction records were set.
The top lot of the sale was Ripe Fields, 1934, a landscape painting by Irma Stern, which sold for £252,000 ($398,600), well above the £200,000 high estimate. Two works by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886–1957) also figured among the top lots: Lowveld, Mica, Eastern Transvaal, 1945, sold for £192,000 ($303,660) on an estimate of £100,000/150,000, and Apies River, Pretoria, with Meintjeskop Beyond, 1922, brought £54,000 ($85,400).
Also among the top lots was A Pondo Woman, a portrait by Maria Magdalena (Maggie) Laubser (1886–1973), which sold for £168,000 ($265,700). Gerard Sekoto’s painting Boy with a Yellow Cap sold for £102,000 ($161,320) against an estimate of £30,000/50,000.
Other records included the £64,800 ($103,430) paid for Christo Coetzee’s Still Life with Fruit, a Banjo and Birdcage, 1954, many times the £6,000 low estimate, and £62,400 ($99,614) for the abstract painting The Sea of Galilee by Maud Frances Eyston Sumner. Giles Peppiat, Bonhams’s head of South African art, noted “aggressive” competition for a number of works.