Record R700 000 paid for Ocean View artist’s painting

By Jan Cronje Time of article published Nov 1, 2014

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A PAINTING by the late Cape Town artist Peter Clarke sold for a record price at a Stephan Welz & Co auction this week, beating the previous highest price for the artist’s work by R100 000.

Four paintings by the acclaimed artist and writer from Ocean View, who died in April, aged 85, were sold as a part of a larger auction of South African and international art, jewellery and furniture.

Landscape with Sheep, painted in 1962, sold for R700 000 at the auction in Constantia, R400 000 more than its top estimated catalogue price of R300 000.

The painting depicts a farming scene from Tesselaarsdal in the Overberg, a region Clarke often visited in his youth.

According to Gary Shean, head of painting at Stephan Welz & Co, the previous highest price for a work by Clarke was set in February 2013, when his painting Surfers at Strandfontein sold for R600 000.

Shean said it was “quite rare” to have four major paintings by an established artist such as Clarke on auction.

More than 120 artworks from Clarke’s personal collection were also auctioned.

“In time to come he will be recognised as one of the country’s most important artists,” Shean said.

The three other Clarke paintings on auction sold for a total of R680 000.

Still Life with Fruit (1958) sold for R300 000, Scarecrow and Lovers (1966) for R120 000, and Two Girls on a Stoep with a Doll (1972) for R260 000.

The prices are “hammer prices”, and a commission of 14 percent must be added to reach the actual price paid.

Clarke was born in Simon’s Town in 1929.

For a time he worked at the docks like his father, but later chose to devote his life to art.

His family was forcibly removed from the False Bay village in the 1970s under the Group Areas Act.

They were relocated to the newly established coloured area of Ocean View, where he lived for the rest of his life.

The painting Two Girls on a Stoep with a Doll depicts a scene from the village where Clarke grew up.

According to art expert Philippa Hobbs, the author of a book about Clarke’s art, it dealt with the “unsettling experience of awaiting relocation”.

Shean said the work of other South African artists on auction also sold well.

Irma Stern’s View of Saldanha Bay sold for R2 273 600, while Alfred Kumalo’s 1961 Mandela family portrait, Winnie and Nelson Mandela with Zindzi Mandela, fetched R113 680.

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