Irma Stern's $4.8m Arab Priest artwork leads its flock at Bonhams

Irma Stern's Arab Priest was the leading light at Bonhams' South African Masterpieces sale on a night that saw three records fall, evidence of the growing popularity of South African art with investors.

Stern's piece achieved £3m on Wednesday in London, £600,000 above the previous record for the artist, realised last year for her Bahora Girl.

The auction also saw Yellow Houses, District Six by Gerard Sekoto achieve £602,400, a new record for the man widely regarded as South Africa's leading black artist.

Alexis Preller's The Garden of Eden achieved £748,000, another individual record.

Giles Peppiatt, Bonhams' director of South African art, commented following the sale: "There was evidence of a highly educated group of buyers in the room and on the phone. They picked the best and paid handsomely for it."

Irma Stern's Arab Priest achieved £3m

He added that the sale demonstrated the growing appetite for the best Stern pieces as well as other South African talents, such as Sekoto and Preller.

However, the 16th birthday card of Alida Snyman painted by school friend and renowned artist Marlene Dumas did not sell in the auction. Although Ms Snyman shouldn't feel perturbed, as the piece could still find a buyer on the private markets.


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