Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture
Stephan is the longest practising fine art expert and auctioneer in South Africa with over 35 years of experience with Sotheby's in London, Amsterdam and South Africa. He has a vast knowledge of South African art and antiques making him the most respected "Generalist" in these fields. He has presided over most of the major South African art and antique auctions and holds the most auction records.
Stephan Aage Welz, Managing Director Strauss & Co
Stephan was born in Worcester in the Cape Province in 1943, the third of the five sons of Jean and Inger Welz. His father, the renowned artist, worked for some time in his profession of architect, and then became an artist full time. His mother owned an art and antique gallery for some 30 years in which he assisted as a boy. Stephan Welz first worked in financial and administrative posts, in particular assisting Professor Walter Battiss in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of South Africa. Shortly after obtaining a B.Com.(Admin.) degree from UNISA, Welz was appointed to the Board of Sotheby Parke Bernet S.A. In 1975 he became an Executive Director, and in 1980 assumed the role of Managing Director. An appointment to the Directorate of Sotheby's International was awarded him the same year, and in 1983 he was appointed a Director of Sotheby's London.
In September 1987 local management bought out Sotheby's interests in South Africa. The company, under its new name of Stephan Welz & Co., continued its auction-house operations as Sotheby's only representative in the Republic.
Stephan Welz was able to pursue and to deepen his widely-ranging interests in the course of his work in the company and as auctioneer - paintings and sculpture, Africana books and maps, Oriental ceramics, coins and silver, to mention the main ones. Dominant among them has been his intense interest in Cape silver, and after tenacious and meticulous research, his book 'Cape Silver' - now the definitive work - was published by A A Balkema in Cape Town in 1976. In 1989 his second book, 'Art at Auction in S.A.', marked Sotheby's 20 years' operations in South Africa. A subsequent publication, Art at Auction in South Africa, published in 1996, is a reStephan served for many years on the Board of Trustees of the William Fehr Collection in The Castle, Cape Town, on the Council of the William Humphreys Art Gallery as well as the Africana Library in Kimberley and as a ministerial appointee on the Executive Council of the National Heritage Council. He has recently resigned as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of the Johannesburg Art Gallery after serving in that capacity for ten years.
As a speaker and broadcaster on topics covering the fine as well as the decorative arts, Stephan Welz is constantly in demand. For over six years he presented a regular television programme on the evaluation of paintings, works of art and antiques. He is assiduous in offering his expertise in raising funds for charitable and beneficent causes.
On a more down to earth level Stephan is a cattle farmer of note and the Welzes love spending time on their farm near Dullstroom with their Tuli cattle.
Stephan sold his business at the end of 2006 and in 2008 joined a then new fine art Auctioneering business, Strauss & Co. The main partners are Dr Conrad Strauss, recently retired chairman of the Standard Bank and Elisbeth Bradley, a director of several leading South African companies including Toyota and Sasol.
Strauss & Co is today the largest fine art auction house in South Africa and the global leader in the South African art market. With an average turnover per annum in excess of R155 million, Strauss & Co has sold 9, of the 10, most expensive paintings ever auctioned in South Africa. As auctioneer, Stephan Welz holds by far the most South African auction records.