Three myths about buying art at auction

#1 – Only the Rich Buy Top-Notch Artists

If you’re shopping for an oil painting by JH Pierneef or a Zanzibar period portrait by Irma Stern, deep pockets and a direct line to your private banker may be a prerequisite. But art auction houses are also turning their attention to new, younger collectors who may not have the capital to initially bid on the heavy hitters, but are eager to get their foot in the door. Susie Goodman, managing director of Strauss & Co, South Africa’s leading auction house, suggests that potential art collectors get an idea of ​​their tastes and budget by browsing auctions and online auction house catalogs. “Artists like Pierneef, Stern and Kentridge have generated exceptional returns on investment. We are noticing a number of new buyers looking to diversify their investment portfolio to include art. And even if they can’t afford an oil painting or original work by top notch artists, they can start building their collections with prints, etchings and limited editions,” she says. Stern’s oil paintings can sell for millions of rand, but it’s still possible to buy his works on paper for less than 50,000 rand.

JH Pierneef – Bushveld Pafuri – Sold November 2021 – R11,607,600.00

JH Pierneef – Krommerivier, Stellenbosch (Nilant 15) Sold July 2022 – R 45,520.00

Irma Stern – Dakar Woman – Sold April 2022 – R10 469 600.00

Irma Stern- African Woman with Children – Sold March 2022 – R52,763

#2 – Art experts will laugh at my ignorance

When people think of art consultants and experts, they usually imagine someone dressed head-to-toe in black, with a bob like a scythe and eyes ready to dry out what little knowledge you might have in the market of art. Unfortunately, the general public still has preconceived notions about art experts and collectors – that they are arrogant, nosy people who don’t care about art ingenues. “And if they do, you better buy from a company or organization that welcomes new buyers and believes in sharing knowledge,” says Bina Genovese, senior executive at Strauss & Co. “While most of our art specialists are sharp dressers with impeccable taste, they are also warm and friendly people who are passionate about sharing their knowledge. They love to pique the interest of potential collectors in art and go the extra mile with new clients and budding collectors. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have, even those that you might consider silly or “misinformed”. ” says Genovese.

#3 – I can’t afford original, quality art

“You’ll be surprised what you can afford at one of our online-only auctions,” says Goodman. “People spend tens of thousands of rands on mass-produced generic prints or coins at a retail store, but for 10,000 or even 5,000 rand they can buy an amazing piece of art at one of our online auctions. And they can be assured that our art experts have verified the provenance, value and condition of the works. If you’re interested in well-known artists, like William Kentridge, Irma Stern, or JH Pierneef, you might want to look at works on paper, watercolors, and limited edition prints. Their past performance at art auctions has produced an excellent return on investment. “But you don’t have to buy art to invest. The first rule when collecting art is to buy what you love,” adds Genovese. For collectors with more traditional tastes, landscape oil paintings by Gabriel de Jongh, Piet van Heerden, Adriaan Boshoff and Johannes Oldert all offer excellent value for money. And if your appetite gravitates more towards the abstract and contemporary, buyers have picked up prints from big names like David Koloane, Dirk Meerkotter and Cecil Skotnes for less than R5,000.

Cecil Skotnes. – Before the Citadel, no. 2 – Sold R6649.00

Dirk Meerkotter – Abstract Cityscape – Sold R34,140

William Kentridge– 9 Films for Projection – Sold R25,795.00

William Kentridge– Seated Woman and Companion – Sold R23,450

Browse the Strauss & Co website for detailed artist information, auction prices, and informative videos about artists, moves, and auction highlights. Art lovers and potential buyers can also visit auction previews and exhibitions throughout the year to learn about artists, mediums and, most importantly, the type of art they love.

Art Month is currently being celebrated, an annual celebration of art and culture at the historic Welgemeend Mansion in Cape Town. Created in 2014 and curated by Frank and Lizelle Kilbourn in conjunction with the Friends of Welgemeend and Strauss & Co, August Art Month always features a thematic art exhibition showcasing rare and important works of art from private collections. This year’s exhibition is titled Tribute: Erken/Verken and celebrates the achievements of art market pioneers Louis and Charlotte Schachat, founders in 1971 of Cape Town’s legendary art gallery, Die Kunskamer. To see the full program:

Strauss & Co’s next online auction opens on Monday 22n/a August and runs until Monday 28e August and features a good sample of 19th century, modern, post-war and contemporary art, as well as furniture, decorative arts and wine. Visit for more information.