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Responsible for the highest ever South African sale of a William Kentridge at R2,24 million in 2010, is about to sell another significant piece from the artist’s landmark production of The Magic Flute and entitled ‘Preparing the Flute’ Figure 9as part of the auction house’s expanding collection of important contemporary works.

Whether hand-drawn or printed in a darkroom, the contrast of black and white makes for poignant artistic statements in contemporary works, as in Jürgen Schadeberg’s telling 1952 photograph of Nelson Mandela In His Law Office, which is another important contemporary piece in the upcoming auction. Schadeberg was one of the legendary Drum chief photographers and while he photographed many key historic events like the Defiance Campaign of 1952 and the Sharpeville Funeral of 1960, he was also one of the few white photographers who captured daily life in the black community, helping to bring the vibrancy of township life to unfamiliar eyes. One form of contemporary art experiencing astronomical growth in prices worldwide is sculpture. The three-dimensional genre is a big component of contemporary art, and will be well represented on the auction block with a significant group of diverse South African works. One of these is ‘Thinking Hare’ by Guy du Toit. Peter Schütz is a sculptor with a very different style, whose iconic figures in painted wood are held in museums throughout South Africa and the world. Schütz passed away in 2008, and his sculpture ‘Green Cloaked Figure’ will be available on auction. Painted bronze is the medium of Barend Petrus de Wet, whose pop-art style ‘Yay’ sculpture valued at R35 000 to R45 000 is for sale, as well as important pieces from artists Francois van Reenen and David James Brown.

“Contemporary art is a new way of expressing creativity and intellectual thought, producing visual art with a difference, and we are pleased to be offering such a well-rounded collection of important pieces,” said Dr. Fred Scott, Managing Director of Stephan Welz & Company. “The Kentridge is certainly a highlight, as it is a fine example of the artist’s superior skill in controlling media in his innovative rendition of artworks. Jürgen superbly captured Mandela in a tranquil pensive moment, making this photograph as much a work of art as it is a piece of history.”

Scott is equally enthusiastic about the selection of contemporary quirky sculptures to be auctioned. “Works of sculpture are often neglected in collections although they have potential to become good investment pieces. Making good sculptures is intricate work and requires special skills, which adds great value to this form of artistic expression,” he said.

In addition to these highlights, prominent works by Robert Hodgins, Norman Catherine, Wayne Barker, Simon Stone, Conrad Botes, David Koloane, Karl Gietl and Kendall Geers will also be available.

The auction will take place in Johannesburg Monday 19 November to Wednesday 21 November at 13 Biermann Avenue, Rosebank. Pre-auction viewing open to the public at no charge, 16 – 18 November, 10h00 until 17h00 daily. For more information, contact Imre or Victoria on 011-880-3125 or e-mail jhb@stephanwelzandco.co.za. The auction catalogue can be viewed at stephanwelzandco.co.za

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