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Surfs up in the Art market

The trend of surf art is reaching ‘point break’ in South Africa, as evidenced by items on sale at the upcoming Stephan Welz & Co. Decorative and Fine Arts Auction in Cape Town on 19th and 20th February.

peter clarke surfers in strandfontein

Already creating waves amongst collectors are “Surfers at Strandfontein”, a painting by revered Cape Town artist Peter Clarke, and “The Surfboard Table”, designed by iconic mid-century furniture designer duo Charles and Ray Eames.

Surfers at Strandfontein, estimated at R180 000 – R200 000, looks likely to be one of the auction’s stand-out sales, with another Clarke painting, Netball Players, fetching double its estimate at a recent Stephan Welz & Co. auction.

Considered one of South Africa’s most important living artists, Clarke was born and bred in Simonstown. His family were forcibly relocated to Ocean View, the community adjacent to Kommetjie, which came into existence through the Group Areas Act, and in spite of his great international reputation, Clarke still lives modestly in Ocean View. Besides the painting’s financial value as a Clarke original, it also provides a rare glimpse on canvas of non-white Cape surf culture.

Eames Surfboard Table

“The Surfboard Table”, designed by Charles and Ray Eames (the team behind the classic Eames chair), is a low table topped with a surfboard-like top made of laminated seven-ply Baltic birch core. Also known as an Eames Elliptical Table, it is reputed to have earned its nickname because the surfboard was the inspiration behind the design. This unusual find has an estimate of R12 000 to R15 000.

“Like art, surfing’s always been inarguably counterculture,” said Anton Welz, Director of Stephan Welz & Co. “Even in recent years, with surf clothing becoming mass market, the link between surfing and culture has remained strong. Perhaps it’s because both represent freedom – the freedom to explore, express and be at one, whether it’s with nature or a blank canvas.

In any case, we are seeing definite increased interest in art inspired by surfing and surf culture, both here and in the international market.”

Brenton Swim School 2013

Whether you are a diehard surfer or just someone who loves surfing’s place in art and culture, the market for surf art has never been more epic.

The Stephan Welz & Co. Decorative and Fine Arts Auction will take place Tuesday, 19 February and Wednesday 20 February at The Great Cellar, Alphen Estate, Alphen Drive, Constantia, Cape Town.

Pre-auction viewing open to the public at no charge, 15 February, 10h00 to 15h00, and 16 and 17 February, 10h00 until 17h00. For more information, 021-794-6461 or e-mail ct@stephanwelzandco.co.za.

The auction catalogue can be viewed at www.stephanwelzandco.co.za.

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