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ART TIMES • June 2008 • Issue 6 Vol 3 • Subscription RSA 180 p.a • June Print & Distrib. 7 000 copies • RSA Free. available in Namibia & Zimbabwe

Goodman Gallery sold By Michael Coulson In the biggest development in the gallery world since Rand Merchant Bank tycoon Paul Harris bought into the Everard Read Gallery, control of Johannesburg’s other biggest and longest-established gallery has changed hands. Linda Givon, who founded the Goodman Gallery 40 years ago, has sold out to film producer (her credits include Oscar winner Tsotsi), art consultant and serial entrepreneur Liza Essers. The sale was finally completed, with money changing hands, in the last week of May, after prolonged negotiations that are believed by insiders to have been so fraught at times as to have come close to being called off – which those who have known Givon for decades will have no difficulty in believing. The sale also includes the offshoot Givon established in Cape Town last year. The price has not been disclosed, but Neil Dundas, senior curator in the Johannesburg gallery, says market talk of a figure between R50m-R100m is way off the mark. He points out that while the Goodman has accumulated a huge and valuable inventory over the years, most of the works are held on consignment and remain the property of the artists. When Givon (nee Finger, formerly Goodman) started out in the 1960s, she had an inestimable advantage: a wealthy family background. Her father owned most of Johannesburg’s leading private hospitals. But she was no dilettante: the gallery was never run on less than totally professional lines, and from the outset she set out to find and encourage black artists at a time when most galleries stuck to the tried and true. The Goodman’s 1960s Sunday night openings were legendary, not least because black artists who later found international

renown were on occasion forced to pose as waiters when the apartheid police came to sniff out Communists and other subversive elements who, by Calvinist definition, made up the bulk of the audience. As the gallery’s Web site alliteratively says, its policy was to foster the culture of the country despite despotic duress. Post-1994, this has widened to embrace the promotion of SA artists internationally. The Goodman is a private company (to be precise, it’s a closed corporation that is now converting into a Pty company) so doesn’t publish results, but Givon indicated to me some years ago that more than half her sales were to foreign buyers. Artists fostered by Givon in those early days include Judith Mason Dumile Feni, Sydney Khumalo and Ezrom Legae. More recently she’s brought the likes of David Goldblatt, Moshekwa Langa, Kagiso Pat Mautloa, Mikhael Subotzky and Nontsikelelo Veleko to international attention. And though she didn’t “discover” William Kentridge – that honour belongs to Nadine Gordimer’s husband, the late Reinhold Cassirer – his international éclat owes much to her. Others who currently show there include Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins, Penny Siopis, David Koloane (whose current exhibition contains some of his best work in years), Sam Nhlengethwa, Tracy Rose, Walter Oltmann, Diane Victor, Jeremy Wafer, Sue Williamson, Clive van den Berg and Minette Vari. Essers plans to meet all these, and the rest of the stable, to assure them that it’ll be business as usual. At the time of writing, Essers and Givon are in Switzerland for Art 39 Basel, the prestigious art fair at which Goodman is the only SA gallery invited. Continued on Page 2

One beautiful lady: from R 350K to R 3.74M in one night Tretchikoff joins the Blue Chip old South African Masters Club as The Fruits of Bali sells for 10 x pre- sale estimate for a staggering R 3. 74 M The South African art fraternity gasped in amazement as a Tretchikoff put on reserve for R300 000 sold for R 3. 740 M at a Sothebys auction in Cape Town on 26th May. Everyone has their own version for the reason for this extraordinary auction result, which brings Russian born so-called “King of Kitsch” into line with icons of the local art canon such as Irma Stern and Maggie Laubser. Story on Page 3

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South African Art Times.

June 2008

The South African

Art Times June 2008 Published monthly by

Global Art Information PO Box 15881 Vlaeberg, 8018, Cape Town Tel. 021 424 7733 Fax. 021 424 7732 Editor Gabriel Clark-Brown Advertising Leone Rouse News: Shows: Artwork: Views expressed by writers and contributors in this newspaper do not necessary reflect the views of the SA Art Times. Deadlines for news, articles and classifieds 20th of each month The Art Times is published in the first week of each month. News and advertising material need to be with the news and marketing managers by the 15th- 20th of each month. Newspaper rights The newspaper reserves the right to reject any material that could be found offensive by its readers. Opinions expressed in the SA Art Times do not necessarily represent the official viewpoint of the editor, staff or publisher, while inclusion of advertising features does not imply the newspaper’s endorsement of any business, product or service. Copyright of the enclosed material in this publication is reserved.


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(Left) Goodman Gallery - Johannesburg situated on a busy Jan Smuts Ave forms one of the cornerstones of the new artstrip galleries opposite. (Right) Goodman Gallery - Cape Town opened in 2007 in the new trendy Woodstock art belt, subsequently Michael Stevenson and Bell- Roberts Gallery have moved to close proximity to the Goodman.

The Goodman sale Continued from Page 1 As well as showcasing a number of SA artists at its stand, the gallery is representing Tom Mulcaire, a South African now resident in Brazil, on Art Unlimited, the major curated exhibition at Basel. Givon, who is taking the opportunity to introduce Essers to major international contacts, says: “Liza reminds me of myself at that age and I feel very confident about handing over to her”. Essers will also accompany Kentridge to the Sydney Biennale in mid-June and Subotzky to his exhibition at MoMA in New York in September. Originally a management consultant with Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), after studying art in Florence, Essers shifted careers in 2003 to become an independent art advisor and curator. She advises several private and

corporate collectors in SA and abroad. Recent large-scale public art projects include the Anglo American sculpture initiative (2003 ongoing), the David project sponsored by Nedbank and The Legacy group (2005) and, more recently, the Nirox International Artist’s Residency Programme, established in 2007. Group exhibitions she has curated, include Integrating Cultures (2003, Cape Town), Faces to Names (2006, Johannesburg) and Shift (2007, Johannesburg, and London). The last-mentioned included Kentridge, Nhlengethwa, Mautloa, and Claire Gavronsky, so she’s already familiar to a number of the Goodman stable. Essers recently initiated a largescale documentary series on contemporary SA art, with the first episode featuring Kentridge and

Marlene Dumas. Other current projects include the development of a major public art initiative for 2010 and a large-scale sculptural exhibition for the Nirox sculpture park. Located near the Cradle of Mankind, the Nirox park, beautifully designed by top garden architect Patrick Watson, recently hosted the latest exhibition by the evergreen sculptor in metal, Edoardo Villa. Essers intends to maintain the Goodman’s reputation as a leading contemporary art gallery. No major changes in staff are planned, the name will remain, and Givon herself will stay on as a consultant for three years. At least, that’s the intention, though it remains to be seen how she adapts to no longer being the mistress in her own house. And as Dundas points out, like

its major rivals the gallery is fully booked for exhibitions for the next couple of years, so without breaking firm contracts no sudden shift of emphasis would be possible, anyway. So far this year the gallery has shown Alison Kearney and Emily Stainer in a joint exhibition, the late Walter Battiss (whose whimsical Fook Island fantasy, devised in conjunction with Norman Catherine, was a feature of the Goodman in the 1960s and 1970s), Rose and Goldblatt. Booked in the next few months are Hentie van der Merwe (July-August), Mautloa (AugustSeptember), Mulcaire (September-October) and Jeremy Wafer (October-November). In typical PR speak, the official announcement says the gallery anticipates a smooth transition during this change in leadership and a continuous programme of

exciting and challenging exhibitions and art works for visitors’ viewing pleasure. Well, that’s what they always say on such occasions; it doesn’t always work out so trouble-free. Much of the value of a business like the Goodman Gallery is the goodwill attached to the proprietor, felt by both artists and clientele. Essers plans to meet all the latter to reassure them. But clients who’ve virtually grown up as collectors with Givon may prove harder to keep on board. The other question still stimulating gossip is where the money’s coming from. Rumour is that Essers is being backed by a businessman with a career in the financial services business neither as long nor as distinguished as Paul Harris’s; but that’s something on which the parties involved are staying firmly and immovably silent.

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South African Art Times.

June 2008

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Tretchikoff joins the local Blue Chip (Million) Masters Club Art Investment writer The South African art fraternity gasped in amazement as a Tretchikoff put on reserve for R300 000 sold for R3. 740 M at a Sothebys auction in Cape Town on 26th May. Everyone has their own version for the reason for this extraordinary auction result, which brings Russian born so-called “King of Kitsch” into line with august icons of the local art canon such as Irma Stern and Maggie Laubser. Both these venerable hallowed females recently fetched what were considered record prices at recent London auction houses. But stocky blonde inimitable Tretch is enjoying what will probably be a whole series of last laughs from the grave as he considers how all his South African life time he was derided and resented by local art critics and snobs. All he ever said of local opinion was “Bullshit !” while his reputation grew ever greater world wide and his Chinese Girl became the best selling art print in history and continues selling. Robert Brooks, Emiritus professor and former head of Fine Art at Rhodes University, said the R3.7million sale trashed those critics and academics who had “muttered away” about Tretchikoff, whose work has previously been labelled kitsch and lacking in substance. “He was accessible and he brightened people’s lives in the 1950s and 1960s.” He explained the price leap as being related to art investment being in a “tremendously good way”. He said there was “a lot of money floating around looking for things to buy” but he said people were also looking back and seeing the

value of Tretchikoff’s work. He said Tretchikoff had been the first to realise that money could be made from prints and had the ability to paint for the public in a way that made people feel important in that they were able to understand the meaning of his work Brooks believes that the price achieved for The Fruits of Bali will result in a “total re-evaluation” because it would be difficult for anyone to ignore the kind of money that had been raised. Andries Loots of 34 Long Art Gallery in Cape Town has another take on the high price. 34 Long auctioned Trechikoff’s “Dying Swan” two years ago just after the artist died and got R300 000 for this famous painting. Andries firmly believes that the Russians are buying heavily into art as are the Chinese. He does not think that “Fruits of Bali” is all that great a Tretchikoff work but this would not matter to the Russians. “They are driving the art market at present. The Russians think of Tretchikoff as one of their own and they want his work back in Russia. There is enormous wealth there now - money totally no object and I believe that they will be looking for more Tretchies now. After all, Tretch has always been bigger anywhere else in the world but here. Everyone shunned him here as not being a truly South African artist but I reckon that his portraits of some of our African tribesmen and local people of colour are the finest representations of the genre you can find in South Africa’. Graham Britz of Grahams Fine Art gallery, however, was loud in praise of “Fruits of Bali” “I think that this is an absolute classic, iconic work by a master painter. This is a definitive piece. The

Balinese woman as the centre piece is so striking and so beautiful and the colours of the fruit glow intensely. I don’t believe that this is a flash in the pan price - I think we will see steadily increasing prices for Tretchikoff as long as they are works of this kind of quality” An art auctioneer in Durban who prefers to remain anonymous and who has dealt often auctioned original Tretchikoffs believes that this astonishing price was part of a scam to raise the asking price for Tretchikoffs. “Everyone knows what Brett Kebble did with his collection of Irma Sterns. He significantly raised the price of his Stern collection by having some of them auctioned and then bought for hugely inflated prices. In this way he dramatically increased the asking price for her works. I think the same thing has happened here. After all, why did the others on the auction go for average prices - why just this one for 10 times the estimate ?” The same art expert knows of the well-know fan in Durban who is reputed to have the largest collection of original Tretchikoffs in the world, collected from the artist’s earliest days when this Durban man became an instant and undying fan of his work. “I have been in touch with someone who knows him and this collector is totally ecstatic at the Sotheby’s result - naturally.......” In quoting Ian Hunter of Sotheby’s Constantia Cape said: “We were all very surprised but of course extremely pleased when Fruits of Bali achieved this record price over our estimate. We pegged it at R300 000 because ww ecoud nt find a sale price for Tretchikoff over R400 00 so we were abit of the conservative side.

All the others up sold well within their margins but I think this one exceeded all expectations because it is a picture that comfortable embraces all the strongest elements of the artist’s visual vocabularly. Tretch was well know for his love of baroque exoticism, glowing sensual colour, rich tropical massing of fruits or flowers, black naked beauty of human’s all in this picture.”




(Art Times) Flash in the pan then, a once off or a foretaste of what iis to come for Tretchikoff sellrs and buyers of the future ? Says Ian “Well, it is in my opinion an exception but I suppose we will get owners of his works phoning us and demanding no less than 3 mil for their paintings ! We’re used to that. In the same sale we had a record price for an Alexander Rose-Innes and for an Adriaan Boshoff. But as for Tretchikoff, it’s difficult to say: the barrier has been broken now, anything can happen as far as we’re concerned. With Tretchikoff, both the art and the artist, you can never take anything for granted”. Ian confirmed that the painting had been bought by a South African. However the Art Times would like to not rule out that they could have acted on a local or international clients behalf. Tretchikoff’s daughter Mimi, who was approached by SA Art Times for comment regarding the results remarked in true Tretchi spirit “about bloody time”

Hussein Salim, My People II

A showcase for the best of South African Masters, as well as some leading contemporary artists. Telephone: 021 423 6075 Mon-Fri: 10h00 - 18h00 Sat: 09h00 - 14h00 or by appointment In Fin Art Building Upper Buitengracht Street, Cape Town 8001 Cell: 082 566 4631 E-mail:

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South African Art Times. CY CMY

June 2008


(left) Artists Nico Eilers and Gavin du Plessis are not charmed by Laurens Barnard (right) of the Moustache Gallery, Stellenbosch.

Detail: Laubser, Maria Magdalena (1886 – 1973) “Landscape with Houses and Figures”. Oil on board, 50.8 x 43.2 cm. Signed “M Laubser” (lower/left)


THE OPENING OF AN EXHIBITION OF SOUTH AFRICAN MASTERS FROM 1853 ONWARDS. The exhibition will conclude on the 29 August 2008. For private viewings and appointments please contact Graham Britz on 083 605 5000

Shop 46, Broadacres Lifestyle Centre, Cnr. Cedar & Valley Roads, Broadacres, Fourways. Graham Britz 083 605 5000 Sarah Keys 084 568 5639 Gallery 011 465 9192

Droopy moustaches over Stellenbosch art gallery Patrick Burnett A group of artists have accused a Stellenbosch gallery owner of shoddy treatment, alleging that they have been kept in the dark about the sale of their work, received sporadic payments and been unable to collect their work when deciding to end their dealings with the gallery. The artists say they have had ongoing problems with the Moustache Gallery, situated in Church Street, Stellenbosch, and owned by Laurens Barnard, an artist and filmmaker. Barnard, however, has hit back, saying that only a minority of artists are unhappy with his gallery. He said he had invited artists who were unhappy to fetch their work and only three artists had responded. One of the unhappy artists, Gavin du Plessis, said he was owed

money for work and he had only been paid in “little bits”, claiming that he was owed nearly R10,000 for oil paintings sold through the gallery. Du Plessis said over the years he had received poor treatment from art galleries in general. “They think we owe them, but without us they would be selling scrap metal and vrot fish.” Another artist, mixed media sculptor Nico Eilers, said by 2007 he had become suspicious because Barnard was full of “promises, promises”. This year he said he had decided “enough was enough” and he had made an appointment in April to get his work back, but when he had arrived at the gallery Barnard had not been there. “I am considering taking legal action,” said Eilers, who said he would talk to his lawyers once his work around helping refugees as a result of the current xenophobic

violence had settled down. Another artist, Julia Forman from Durban, said she had sent two paintings to Barnard. “He sold one, but I have never seen the money,” she said, saying she believed she was owed R2,500. “It’s just the principle to not even know where you stand,” she said. She said she had given Barnard three months until the end of April and he had responded saying he had called for an audit which would take three months. She said she had therefore decided to give him “that grace”. When contacted, Barnard said: “I have 70 artists, do you want me to give you 25 happy people?” He said there would always be problems with artists. “Artists are emotional,” he said. Dealing with the specific complaints, he said he had made a sale for Du Plessis and had paid him “up to I think R20,000.”

He said he had another painting that had to be sent Germany and this was all that was outstanding. With regards Eilers, he said he had sold one work and the others had been picked up. “I don’t know why he is complaining.” As to Forman’s complaints, he said one of her paintings had been sold and he was returning the other one. He said payments were slow because people paid by credit card and these payments had to be cleared by banks. Sometimes the banks reversed payments and so he had to make “double sure” before paying out. Barnard said he had sent an email to artists informing them that if they were not happy they were welcome to collect their work, but only three artists had indicated they wanted their work back. -- WCN

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South African Art Times.


10 Green bottles, Installation, artist unknown. Photograph by Mary-Ann Orr (see article in next months SA Art Times)

Nick Cave- Soundsuit . Found, beaded and sequined hand-sewn garments, mannequin, metal armature 254 x 66 x 35.6cm Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York As seen at Disguise The art of attracting and deflecting attention show at Michael Stevenson Gallery until 5 July.

June 2008

Sanell Aggenbach, Playboys, 2007. Digital print and mixed media. From upcoming show: Myth, Memory and the Archive 13 August – 19 September at Bell Roberts Gallery.. The show focuses on works that move toward experimental and new media, as well as performance and installation. Archival concerns have always been a priority for printmakers. For more info rmation see for more details

Hayden Proud curator of the Revisions+ Expanding the Narrative of South African Art at a book launch of the exhibition catalogue at The Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary art gallery (SMAC).

Sorry we are closed, work by Manfred Zylla who has just been selected for participation in the 10th Havana Biennale in Cuba next year. Zylla will be exhibiting at the Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town until 28 June.

As part of their live-arts programme - the Sandton Central Open Street Sessions - the infamous Gerard Bester will feature on the sidewalks of Sandton Central with a performance at 13h00 on 16th and 17th May 2008. The act forms part of the Spier Contemporary programme of visual art performed live in Johannesburg starting on May 14, and promises to be an unforgettable outdoor theatre experience.

Johan Thom shows the video projection Bind/Ontbind as “a metaphor for the constant processes of decay and of regeneration [which] may disfigure us, but whenever we attempt to replace them with new systems of thought we are in fact simply disfiguring ourselves anew Three new exhibitions, a radical performance and an effort to save the world. 13 May at KZNSA Gallery, Durban.

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The African Art Centre T. 031 3123818

David and Gail Zetler. 270 Main Street, Paarl, 7646. Phone + 27 (0) 21 872 5030 Fax + 27 (0) 21 872 7133 E-mail: Artwork: Peter Fincham, Afternoon Shadows

Geroge Enslin (1919-1972) Tokyo Street Scene. Oil on Board 510 x 360 mm

The Philip Harper Galleries Hermanus, Western Cape We specialise in South African Art, both Old Masters and select Contemporary Artists, catering for both corporate and private clients Oudehof Mall, 167 Main Road, Hermanus, Tel: 028 3124836


THE SOUTH AFRICAN Tretchikoff joins the Blue Chip old South African Masters Club as The Fruits of Bali sells for 10 x pre- sale estimate for...

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