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Millions raised at WWF Art Auction

  18 September 2013     Archived

The World Wildlife Fund Art Auction, presented by Strauss & Co and Everard Read, raised close on R5 million last night at the CIRCA gallery, in Johannesburg.

This glamorous occasion, attended by Johannesburg’s Who’s Who, took place at Everard Read’s state of the art CIRCA gallery. The hour-long auction, which attracted a capacity crowd, was characterised from the outset by animated bidding and enthusiastic applause as each lot fell under the hammer.
Of the 22 lots on sale, 17 exceeded their presale estimates, in some instances by up to three times. Examples were Karel Nel’s two panels,Taung/Piltdown, which sold for R150 000, Harold Voigt’s Winter Sunlight which sold for R200 000 and Lionel Smit’s Disclose which sold for R300 000. The highest price realised was for an exceptional painting of Okavango Channel Blooms by John Meyer which, after ferocious bidding, was knocked down for R750 000.

Included in the total is a very generous donation of R1 million, half the price raised from the sale of Adrian Steirn’s photograph portrait of Nelson Mandela, which sold prior to the auction to an anonymous buyer in New York for R2 million, setting a record price for a photograph in South Africa. Steirn donated the other R1 million to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

After the auction well over 300 people continued to party into the night, enjoying the lively music, the delicious food and drink, and making it one of the most vibrant events of the year.
South Africa’s leading art auctioneer, Stephan Welz, Managing Director of Strauss & Co, who conducted the auction, described last night’s event as “a great evening for a great cause which also did much to foster the arts”.

WWF’s CEO, Dr Morné du Plessis, commented after the auction: “I was really touched by the overwhelming support that people have expressed not only verbally but by actually participating in the auction. I feel very encouraged by people who in their daily lives have little to do with the environment and yet have been so generous in their support. It fills me with the hope that everyone eventually understands that the environment sustains us, not us it”.
Mark Read, owner of the Everard Read Gallery, went on to comment as follows: “Wow – South Africa never fails to surprise when one imagines people are tired and starting to vaguely think about the beach, holidaying.... Serious issues about supporting the senior environmental NGO, are absolutely meaningful to people who come here to spend serious money, on serious art. The artists who generously donated their works gave of their best and the auction featured a good spectrum of the many luminary names in Modern and Contemporary Art . Not one artist was found to be less desirable than another. Instead, they all emerged with their reputations enhanced by having participated in this auction”.

At the end of the auction Mark Read thanked all for attending and for their immense generosity. He concluded by paying special tribute to Stephan Welz, with the words: “the South African art world is not only immeasurably enriched by Stephan Welz, it is unthinkable without him”.

Bind Genovese
Executive Director/Media Liaison
Strauss & Co


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