High value paintings by South African mastersJacob Hendrik Pierneef and Maggie Laubser are coming onto the open market after being held in private collections since they were first painted or acquired decades ago.

The paintings, being auctioned by Stephan Welz & Co in Cape Town on February 21 and 22, are set to attract keen bidding, with the price of the Pierneef, Near Greytown No. 16 work estimated between R800 000 and R1.2 million, and the Laubser, Portrait of a Girl with Headscarf Holding a Pumpkin between R350 000 and R550 000.

Also on auction are paintings by Peter Clarke, Windmills (R300 000 to R500 000) and Gerard Sekoto, The Artist in the Luxembourg Gardens (R150 000 to R220 000) and five Clément Sénèque works, held by generations of his family since the early part of the last century.

The works are among more than 1 200 lots on an auction covering a wide range of disciplines, including furniture, jewellery and photography.

Stephen Welz & Co is building on its strong position in the art market by broadening its range of expertise through major new appointments.

Dr Rayda Becker brings close to 50 years of experience to her appointment as a senior specialist consultant. With an arts doctorate from Wits, she has been a curator of the Wits Art Museum and Parliament’s art collections. For the last five years she has been taking care of the declared national collection in Groote Schuur House .

With more than 25 years of experience at the SA National Gallery (now Iziko SANG), Carol Kaufmann joins Stephan Welz & Co as a senior specialist consultant.

She has wide experience and interests in the visual arts, and is a long-standing member of the South African Heritage Resources Agency Panel of Art Specialists and has curated a wide range of exhibitions as well as written and contributed to numerous publications.

Kerry Hawkins joins the company as a jewellery specialist. She has studied jewellery manufacture and design, as well as diamonds and gem grading through EGL, and worked in the industry.

Monique Kleyhans takes up a position as junior specialist and administrator for ceramics and furniture.

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MASTER SESSION

Among the paintings being auctioned for the fi rst time is Pierneef’s oil on canvas Near Greytown No. 16, acquired at one of his fi rst exhibitions in Durban and has remained in the same family until now.

The Laubser painting, Portrait of a Girl with Headscarf Holding a Pumpkin, was bought on exhibition in 1946 and has remained in the original owner’s family ever since. The oil on canvas work reflects the life of a young farmworker in the milieu of a bountiful harvest epitomised by a giant pumpkin.

“Laubser and Pierneef were born in the same year, 1886, and are the fi rst generation of major South African-born artists and the forerunners of local art,” says Becker.

“They looked at South Africa in fundamentally diff erent ways. Laubser was concerned about people, animals and occupied spaces, whereas Pierneef focused on landscapes, in which people rarely feature.”

Mauritius-born Clement Seneque’s Durban- and France-inspired private works, ranging between R25 000 and R60 000, will feature on auction .

A notable lot on the auction is the oil, pencil and charcoal on canvas painting, Death & The Maiden, by Robert Hodgins, estimated between R300 000 and R500 000 .

These works will be among the other specialist art on offer.

The Stephan Welz & Co auction takes place on February 21 and 22 at The Great Cellar, Alphen Estate, Alphen Drive, Constantia, Cape Town.

Lots can be viewed from 10am to 4pm on Friday February 17, and 10am to 5pm on February 18 and 19.

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