A new report has revealed that the global top-end art market is valued at approximately $75-billion. African art accounts for $450-million, which equates to around R5.5-billion, and is held in South Africa specifically.

The global market research group, New World Wealth, took a look at the rise of fine and classic art in South Africa over the past decade. According to its indices, the price of fine art in the country has risen by 28% in the past ten years.

Global fine art prices have risen by 12% in the same period.

The majority of major art galleries located in Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Here is a list of South Africa’s most expensive art:

Irma Stern: Arab Priest

Irma Stern’s Arab Priest was purchased at a cool R52 303 600, and is the most expensive piece of fine art sold in South African history.

The painting, however, was later found in a London apartment, all but forgotten. It was donated to a charity auction by Stern in order to help finance Nelson Mandela’s legal defense in the 1950s.


Irma Stern’s The Arab Priest (Source: Facebook)

Irma Stern: The Bahora Girl

The Bahora Girl sold for R40 756 944, and is still framed in its original Zanzibar frame.

Cape Town Writer - Art by capetownwriter.com
Irma Stern’s Bahora Girl (Source: Facebook)

Irma Stern: Seated nude with oranges

Irma Stern’s painting entitled Seated nude with oranges sold for R29 210 000, and was painted in 1934.

Irma Stern’s Seated nude with oranges

Irma Stern: Two Arabs 

Two Arabs sold for R21 166 000 in September of 2011 during an art auction by Strauss & Co, making it the highest ever paid for any work of fine art at a South African auction.

Irma Stern’s Two Arabs (Source: Twitter)

J.H Pierneef: Farm in Jonkershoek with Twin Peaks Beyond, Stellenbosch

Following closely behind Two Arabs is Farm in Jonkershoek with Twin Peaks Beyond, Stellenbosch which sold for R20 462 4000 in 2017.

J.H Pierneef’s Farm in Jonkershoek with Twin Peaks Beyond, Stellenbosch (Source: Twitter)

Picture: Twitter


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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.