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South Africa’s $200 Million Art Market Come Up

South Africa’s $200 Million Art Market Come Up

By CultureBanx Team

  • South Africa’s art market is valued between $140M - $200M

  • Irma Stern’s “An Arab Man” painting sold for $1.4M

The African art scene is seeing a boom after an auction in March became the most successful one ever held on the continent, as investors poured millions of dollars into the sector. South Africa’s art market is now valued between $140 million to $200 million. Is the next phase for African artists finally getting their work valued at million dollar prices going to occur on the continent where it all started?

Photo: “An Arab Man” Irma Stern

Photo: “An Arab Man” Irma Stern

Why This Matters: Africa is arguably the last frontier art market due to a favorable U.S. dollar to South African rand exchange rate which now stands at $1 to 14 rand, is contributing to the art market growth in the region. At the auction they sold 106 million rand ($7.3 million) worth of art which was a record in Africa.

More than 600 lots were sold during the auction that attracted both international and domestic buyers. Specifically, South African artist Irma Stern’s “An Arab Man”painting sold for $1.4 million. The painting is a previously unrecorded portrait of an Omani nobleman from the court of the Sultanate of Zanzibar. Stern’s artwork took the top three spots by value.

Africa is arguably the last frontier art market due to a favorable U.S. dollar to South African rand exchange rate which now stands at $1 to 14 rand

Situational Awareness: Zeitz MOCAA is said to be the world’s largest contemporary African art museum and opened last year in Cape Town. Due to its vast collection, many people attribute the museum with increasing the interest art investors have in Africa’s rich artistic heritage.

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