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Aspire Art Auction: Buying art for long-term investment

25 February 2021 1:53 PM
Tags:
Art
Contemporary art
Modern art
South African art
South African artists
Sponsored Content
art market
Aspire Art Auction
Marlene Dumas
#AAACT21
art collectors

While there is some speculation of the art market boom fizzling out, there is no doubt that African art sales are booming.

Steady growth with astonishing peaks has been the hallmark of the art market over the last few years, creating the perception of a safe hedge against inflation. But can it still be viewed as such? What do international and local auction results indicate about the strength of the market? Total auction sales for the period June to August 2020, according to MutualArt, have shown, not unexpectedly, a decrease in activity with areas most affected being the UK (63%) and USA/Canada (50%) while the rest of the world and Europe has only seen a 23% and 21% contraction, respectively, according to MutualArt.

South African art sales are booming.

While there is some speculation of the art market boom fizzling out, there is no doubt that African and South African art sales are booming. Although the African art market represents only a small percentage of global art sales, the South African art market accounts for most of this, and the rate of growth of this market in recent years has outperformed the larger international capitals.

The art market is, of course, not one unified market but is vast and differentiated by several factors such as category (including Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern), location (such as Europe, USA, Canada and Asia) and media (Painting, Sculpture, etc.)–each of which performs differently. With ever-growing interest in modern and contemporary African art, the international art market has witnessed an exponential increase in prices achieved for African artists, delivering unprecedented results at auction and steadily increasing prices for selected artists.

In the Contemporary Art Market Confidence Report, published in May 2020 by ArtTactic, William Kentridge jumped from number 25 in 2009 to number 6 in 2020 in the long-term Confidence Indicator ranking. It is noteworthy that Kentridge’s Drawing from Stereoscope (Soho in 2 Rooms) sold for R6,600,400—a world record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a Kentridge drawing—at Aspire’s auction in 2018, proving that it pays to sell with the best. So Kentridge’s Drawing from Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old (Mrs Eckstein, preparing for the day) coming up at R2,800,000-3,800,000 on Aspire’s next auction, is one to watch.

South African-born Marlene Dumas, who also features prominently in the top 25 of the long-term Confidence Indicator, achieved exciting results locally when her painting, Love Lost, sold for over R7,2 million in 2019 and Oktober 73 sold for over R7 million in 2020, both at Aspire Art Auctions. The global reputation of these artists no doubt makes the acquisition of their works an attractive—and potentially lucrative—investment. Art collectors will be paying keen attention when a highly desirable, early painting by Dumas, aptly titled SCORE, comes up on Aspire’s 4 March 2021 auction in Cape Town.


Browse the #AAACT21 e-catalogue of modern and contemporary art for Aspire Art Auctions' auction on Thursday, 4 March 2021


While these results stimulate confidence in the local art market, an ever-widening array of art on offer can confuse potential art buyers. Who are the top African artists? Which works fetch the top prices? Where to begin collecting? How to develop a collection to ensure sustained value and growth?

There’s no doubt that African art is hot property. Yinka Shonibare CBE, El Anatsui, Abdoulaye Konaté, Julie Mehretu and Moshekwa Langa are amongst the most sought-after contemporary artists. Looks out for works by Kudzanai Chiurai, Simphiwe Ndzube, Mary Sibande, Misheck Masamvu and Uche Okeke, who are in increasing demand.

Edoardo Villa hit the headlines when his magnificent large-scale steel sculpture, Traverse, from 1957, sold for an astounding R4,893,400, more than R1,8 million above its high estimate and more than doubling the previous record also held by Aspire since 2017—proof of the buoyancy and resilience of the local art market. A range of Villas is available at different price points on Aspire’s upcoming auction.

While investing in art is growing in popularity, art should always be bought as a long-term investment. Flipping art—the term for rapid re-selling—is not a good practice and undermines the art market. It’s important to buy with an eye on the future and to obtain the best advice before buying.

What affects collectability?

Top works attract top prices. Collectors determine the ultimate price they are willing to pay, thus setting new records. It often comes down to how an artwork is judged by the tastemakers of the artworld. Local and international exhibitions profile artists and can play a major role in marketing their work.

Savvy collectors can still buy art with great growth potential. As with any investment, the answer lies in doing your research, seeking advice from trusted sources and buying the best you can afford. Specialists at auction houses such as Aspire Art Auctions, with years of experience in the art industry, can offer invaluable insights into the art market, illustrating what top works have fetched locally and internationally at auction, where the results are made public. Such information is useful in providing guidance to potential art collectors on how to build value and avoid pitfalls.

For more information, visit aspireart.net or send an email to Aspire Art Auctions' Senior Art Specialist & Director, Emma Bedford at emma@aspireart.net.




25 February 2021 1:53 PM
Tags:
Art
Contemporary art
Modern art
South African art
South African artists
Sponsored Content
art market
Aspire Art Auction
Marlene Dumas
#AAACT21
art collectors

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