Tretchikoff's Portrait of Lemka sets $541,000 auction record

Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff's Portrait of Lemka is one of three paintings that set new world records in Bonhams' South African Sale part II, which was held yesterday (October 17) in London.

Tretchikoff Portrait of Lemka
When Tretchikoff returned home from war, his wife hung the portrait in
their dining room

Tretchikoff was a Russian-born artist who spent much of his life, and achieved his greatest success, in South Africa. One of the most commercially successful artists of all time, his prints were immensely popular with the general public (namely Chinese Girl, otherwise known as The Green Lady), yet art critics nicknamed him the "King of Kitsch".

The piece in the auction was a portrait of the artist's favourite muse and one-time lover, Leonora Moltema, whom he painted throughout his time in Java during the second world war. With the model from a European father and Malay mother, the work perfectly encapsulates the fusion of eastern and western styles that is commonly found through Tretchikoff's work.

Portrait of Lemka (Red Jacket) was expected to sell for £50,000-80,000, but soon soared past this estimate, achieving £337,250 ($541,349), a 321.5% increase in value and a record for the artist.

Pierneef Cape Farmlands
The previous record for a Pierneef work on paper was set at Bonhams in 2008

The second record breaking sale was provided by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef's Cape Farmlands, which set a new auction record for a work on paper by the artist, selling at £289,250 ($464,300). The price represents a 189.2% increase on the £100,000 high estimate.

The price beat the previous record - which was set at the auction house in 2008 - five times over.

Stanley F Pinker Garden of Eden
Stanley Pinker died in June 2012, boosting the sale of this work

Also achieving a record price for the artist at auction was Stanley F Pinker's Garden of Eden, which achieved an impressive increase of 237.2% against its £100,000 high estimate. The work, which was sold following Pinker's death in 2012, achieved £337,250 ($541,349).

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