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Cape Town - A painting by Cape artist Ruth Prowse, which was found decades ago on a rubbish heap, has sold for more than R55 000 at auction in Cape Town, fine art auction house Strauss & Co said on Tuesday.
Executive director Bina Genovese said the seller had only recently discovered the potential value of the artwork named “The Bluff, Durban”.
He apparently found the painting about 25 years ago when he was asked to remove rubbish left by people who were moving out of a house in a Karoo town.
“He noticed the painting on the rubbish heap which appealed to him enough for him to keep it,” said Genovese.
When he recently saw an advertisement offering valuations of paintings, he sent an image of his painting.
“He was delighted when the auction house identified it to be by Ruth Prowse and estimated it to be worth R25 300 (and) even greater was his delight when it sold for R55 700.”
Genovese said the painting was probably not immediately identified as valuable because Prowse had signed it with her initials and not her name.
“Without expertise it was not possible to identify the artist.... Also, the painting was executed in 1913, 100 years ago, with the Durban Bay not developed and the view is therefore not readily identifiable.”
The painting was auctioned on Monday night alongside a number of well-known artworks, including Irma Stern's Malay Girl, which went for R11 697 000, Wolf Kibel’s Houses with Red Roofs, Anton van Wouw’s cast of a Miner with Hand Drill and Maggie Laubser’s Portrait of a Girl with Geese.
Sales at the auction totalled R36 million. - Sapa