Kentridge artwork sells for R6.6m at Johannesburg auction

William Kentridge.
William Kentridge.
Image: John Liebenberg

A William Kentridge artwork achieved a record price of R6.6m at an auction held in Illovo‚ Johannesburg‚ on Sunday evening.

The 120x160cm charcoal and pastel drawing is a still in Kentridge’s stop-motion film‚ Stereoscope‚ and was produced in 1999‚ at the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that dealt with political crimes under apartheid.

The drawing is one of 65 Kentridge used to make the eight-minute-22-second animated film‚ which was first shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York‚ in April 1999.

Aspire Art Auctions‚ which held the auction at the Gordon Institute of Enterprise Science’s Illovo campus‚ said the price for the Drawing from Stereoscope beat the earlier mark of more than R5.7m‚ achieved in Paris.

“We’re delighted to have achieved such profound breakthroughs in the market at a time when the economy is tough for everyone‚” Aspire director and senior artwork specialist Emma Bedford said.

The auction house said the highest lot - by value – in the sale was an oil on canvas painting by Alexis Preller titled “Adam”‚ which fetched R9.1m. This was a world record for the artist‚ beating an earlier mark of R8.4m.

“Our successes with these two remarkable works speak to the faith that our clients have in us‚ and are testament to our growing international reputation and gravitas‚” Bedford said.