Gerard Sekoto's "The Milkman"

Gerard Sekoto's "The Milkman". Image via Sotheby's

There occasionally is some good news to come out of the down art market in this global recession.  On October 6, Sotheby’s hosted their Impressionist and Modern Art sale, which included Russian and Latin American Art.  Sotheby’s also snuck in this piece by South African artist Gerard Sekoto, a self-taught painter.  The 20×24″ oil on canvas (1945-1947) painting was estimated to sell between $100,000-150,000.  It smashed that estimate to hammer at $542,500 (inclusive of buyer’s premium).

More after the jump…

The auction overall did very well.  74% of lots found buyers.  Although the total amount of the auction was $4.7 million, down from the $6.4 million achieved a year ago, it is equal to the total sold in 2007, when the market was at its height.

Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993) had trained as a school teacher but decided, as a self taught artist, to launch his professional art career in 1938.  The popularity and celebration of his work derives his sensitive depictions of South African life during his time.  He is recognized as a pioneer in urban black art, social realism, and the father of South African art.

Here are a selection of Sekoto’s paintings:

In other auction news from around the globe, the result ($2.2 million) for a Damien Hirst work broke the record the artist previous had.  The piece, “The Importance of Elsewhere — The Kingdom of Heaven” (pictured below) was sold at Korea’s Seoul Auction.  Many are hoping that this is a indicator that Asia has a growing taste for Western contemporary art.