Buying & Selling Art

Pavillon 54’s magazine is a space for discovery, learnings and dialogue on Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa and its diaspora. Through articles, interviews, editorial coverage, videos, exhibitions and experiences, the Pavillon 54 community will learn, be informed and involved in current events in the African art world.

  • Ayana V. Jackson 'Black Rice' (2019)
    Ayana V. Jackson 'Black Rice' (2019)

    What does the notion of ‘contemporary African art’ refer to today? We have previously published an article on the subject, but now we invite you to consider it from a socio-cultural and collective perspective. What is at stake when we frame or understand contemporary art practices within this concept? Undergoing relevant criticism, this notion still identifies a broad set of practices that have in common their concern to transcend the (danger of a) single story about ‘Africa’ so ingrained in popular culture, and to amend art history canons. Contemporary African art has always been a matter of its time, running parallel with the emancipation drive/calls of a post-colonial generation, refusing to be defined by the weight of the colonial legacy or understood through colonial readings. As such, it is in constant evolution and reflects the hopes and scenarios of a creative community that relates to Africa and its diaspora.

  • Amy Morton at Morton Fine Art gallery
    Amy Morton at Morton Fine Art gallery

    As the one-stop global digital platform and community for art from Africa and the Diaspora, Pavillon54 always seeks to enter fruitful partnerships with artists, curators, collectors, and galleries. It became only natural, then, that for the next step of our development, we partnered with some of the most exciting international galleries that specialise in contemporary African art and share our vision for the African art market.

  • © The Johannesburg Station Panels at Rupert Art Foundation by JH Pierneef
    © The Johannesburg Station Panels at Rupert Art Foundation by JH Pierneef

    To navigate the history of art of a complex, multifaceted and multicultural continent as Africa, especially if you just got passionate about it, can seem like an overwhelming maze. But no worries, we are here to help you. Follow our series of “Artists you should know or watch” in each country, and you could soon almost sound like an expert!


    South Africa has always been one of the continent’s most established art markets. Nowadays, the country continuously flourishes with emerging artists and has a lively scene for galleries, exhibitions spaces, art fairs and auction houses. But what about its artistic roots? From Colonial art, where white South African artists portrayed what was seen as ‘the New World’, spanning throughout the 20th Century and the impact of African forms, and finally getting to the emerging of black artists, South African history of art is surely complex and multilayered, as the country itself.

  • Meet Greatjoy: a “Contemporary expressionist”

    Artists' Spotlight Series - Conversation with the artist
    © Greatjoy in his studio, South-Africa
    © Greatjoy in his studio, South-Africa

    Pavillon 54 had the chance to have a chat with Greatjoy Ndlovu: born in 1993, Greatjoy is a Zimbabwean visual artist living and working in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of the most interesting emerging artists on the South African scene, Greatjoy dynamic paintings are enriched by expressive brush strokes, graphite-drawing and splashes of color. His subject matter is mostly focused on human beings: their bodies, their behaviour, and their emotions. During the past year, Greatjoy explored the impact of the pandemic on our society and created a series of works, displayed on Pavillon 54, focusing on subjects as love, affection and family.

  • Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Nigeria), Oldies and Goodies, 2016-2018. Installation view, Dak’Art Biennale 2018 “The Red Hour/A New Humanity” curated by Simon Njami. Photo credit: The Sole Adventurer.
    Olanrewaju Tejuoso (Nigeria), Oldies and Goodies, 2016-2018. Installation view, Dak’Art Biennale 2018 “The Red Hour/A New Humanity” curated by Simon Njami. Photo credit: The Sole Adventurer.

    With brighter mobility perspectives looming on the horizon, art lovers are probably looking at possibilities to embark on a trip to noteworthy art manifestations. Biennales, Triennale’s, Encounters, you name it, have constituted an unmissable rendezvous’ for those hungry for new trends and seminal creative processes in contemporary art. When the long-standing and established Venice Biennale has increasingly dedicated pavilions to African countries, continental art events/manifestations have contributed to the actual burgeoning of contemporary African art. Some have long been established, such as the Dak’Art Biennale or Les Rencontres de Bamako, when others are a few years old. They do not subscribe to the logic of country representation – as it is the case for the Venice Biennale – and propose new formats of exhibition and artistic exchange, especially in these times which call for alternative gathering frameworks and display models. These events and their multiplicity contribute to the decentring of legitimizing hubs of contemporary art practices.  

  • Ramesh Shukla's 50 Years United at Art Dubai 2021, Courtesy of Art Dubai.
    Ramesh Shukla's 50 Years United at Art Dubai 2021, Courtesy of Art Dubai.

    Art world professionals and connoisseurs wait with bated breath for the annual Art Basel x UBS Art Market report each year. This report, one of the most comprehensive in the industry, provides a full assessment of the market’s performance of the previous year, allowing businesses to analyse the current state of the market, and plan accordingly for the years ahead.

     

    But with such an in-depth document, which covers statistics from art dealer sales, auction house performance, art fairs, online sales and more, it can be time-consuming to read the full report and extract the most essential information. We’ve summarised the key takeaways from the Art Market Report 2021, and have also highlighted some of the key impacts on the African art market from the year 2020.

  • © Wonderbuhle 'Asikafiki', 2020, Acrylic and metallic paint on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
    © Wonderbuhle 'Asikafiki', 2020, Acrylic and metallic paint on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

    The late exhibition Liminality in Infinite Space held at the African Artists’ Foundation in Lagos has revealed much of contemporary African art’s appeal for figuration and portraiture – catalogue accessible here. The show’s intention seems to be twofold. First, “this exhibition arches back to more traditional art-making practices including painting, collage, tapestry and woodcuts”. Secondly, and from a representation standpoint, “it intentionally moves away from exaggerated depictions of blackness towards sharing moments of vulnerability and unostentatious joy”. It is no surprise at a time in which the black body is subjected to all sorts of gaze, subjugation, aggression or praise. 

  • ‘Eclipse of the Scrolls’ at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery London © Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery
    ‘Eclipse of the Scrolls’ at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery London © Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

    In the UK, everyone is excited to return to galleries this April as the lockdown rules are lifted! Whether you missed these shows in December, want to visit the new exhibitions of the season, or just want to catch up with what's still online, we've got you covered! Check out our list of the not-to-miss Contemporary African Art exhibitions in London.

  • One of the galleries open on First Thursday, downtown Cape Town © travel.sapeople
    One of the galleries open on First Thursday, downtown Cape Town © travel.sapeople

    One of Pavillon 54’s favourite things to do is to physically visit and scope out the artistic scene in various countries in Africa. This has been hard to achieve during the pandemic, however we fortunately managed to visit South Africa recently, and have already compiled a list of the 7 emerging artists to watch there. In this next instalment of our series on the art scene in South Africa, we highlight the 7 top art destinations in South Africa that every art lover has to experience.

  • Collectors Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean with paintings by Tschabalala Self © SWIZZ BEATZ
    Collectors Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean with paintings by Tschabalala Self © SWIZZ BEATZ

    You’ve done your research, selected choice artworks that match your collecting goals and tastes and have officially started your art collection. After you’ve acquired a certain number of paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints - whatever it may be - you may be asking yourself: what is the best way to care for all these artworks?

  • Victoria Rogers for CULTURED MAGAZINE [1] © CHRIS WAGGONER
    Victoria Rogers for CULTURED MAGAZINE [1] © CHRIS WAGGONER

    One of the biggest misconceptions about collecting art is that you must be very wealthy to do so. However, this is simply not the case, as there are plenty of emerging artists and art markets to invest in at affordable prices. Art from Africa and its diaspora is one such example, as its market is still developing rapidly. Collectors can obtain artworks of great quality and investment value at lower prices, and therefore not only contribute to the growth of an incredible movement of artists, but also add an artwork to their collections that is expected to grow in value.

     

    But diving into the art world and the art market can be a mammoth task. What are the best ways to begin your forays into the art world without breaking the bank, and where can you start? We list some of our top tips for starting an art collection on a budget.

  • Art Styles

    An Introduction to Popular African Art
    Amoako Boafo's Aurore Iradukunda, 2020
    Amoako Boafo's Aurore Iradukunda, 2020

    Art historians and artists of African descent have long highlighted the platitudes of the term ‘African art’. Typically, in the canon of art history, African art has been reduced to masks, votive figures, weapons or tapestries. However, curators, African art historians, and creators have been fighting against this one-dimensional view of African cultural output, in the aims of presenting a diverse and rich African arts scene, as variegated and unique as there are as many countries on the continent.

     

    Here at Pavillon54, one of our main missions is also to educate and promote the incredible assortment of artistic styles and techniques that can be found in modern and contemporary African art. We’ve highlighted seven popular art styles that are worldwide and universal, already well-integrated in the art historical canon, but here we are presenting it with a unique African twist. How have modern and contemporary African artists contributed to these popular artistic movements, and who are the key players? Read on to discover more!

  • The 99 Series, Part 7, 2013 © Aida Muluneh
    The 99 Series, Part 7, 2013 © Aida Muluneh

    The term ‘print’ can often give the impression of a cheap, mass-produced printed piece of paper that doesn’t have much value. However, did you know that some of the most expensive prints by Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso have exceeded a value of millions of pounds? This misunderstood medium has great value in the art market, but when you begin to collect photography or artist prints, there is essential information that should be kept in mind, in order to understand the long-term value of the artwork. There is a lot of specific terminology and factors that may be encountered when trying to acquire such a work, such as ‘limited edition’, an extension to an edition, the number of works in the series, and what this can mean for the value of these prints. Here at Pavillon54, we represent some incredible African photographers and work only with limited edition prints. So, what does this mean for a collector when acquiring a limited-edition print via Pavillon54?

  • Corporate art collections:

    Why companies build them
    TD Bank – Mies van der Rohe and Jack Bush’s Rose
    TD Bank – Mies van der Rohe and Jack Bush’s Rose

    Did you know that some of the most prolific, high quality art collections in the world belong to banks? For example, Deutsche Bank, one of the primary sponsors for Frieze art fair, has collected over 70,000 artworks over the years. But why are big businesses and corporations interested in collecting art? And can small to medium-sized businesses follow suit?

  • What to know when buying art?

    5 Questions to Ask Yourself when Buying Art
    What to know when buying art?

    The possibilities of buying art grow ever more abundant. Indeed, these days, the dual-swoop of new, innovative digital art galleries and the increasing trend in the wealthy investing in art means that the art market is booming, particularly online. Among those using online platforms are wealthy millennials, many of whom are first-time buyers. If you count yourself among those who are interested in acquiring art for the first time, there are a few important questions to ask yourself before you make that big purchase. Below we’ve listed what to know when buying art, including some of the most important factors to consider.

  • © Getty Images
    © Getty Images

    It is undeniable: online art sales continue to grow. According to the ‘Hiscox online art trade report 2018’, the amount of art bought online has shown consistent growth over the past five years. In addition to this, 79% of young art buyers (under the age of 35) expressed that they use social media, especially Instagram, to discover new artists, and 32% of buyers said that social media had a significant impact in their decision to purchase art. This consistent increase in online methods of scouting the art market demonstrates that purchasing art digitally is becoming more prolific. Artech start-ups pioneered the way for making means of buying and selling art online easier and more convenient than ever, however we are also seeing traditional art institutions incorporate online methods of buying art. Regardless of whether one prefers to go with young, innovating start-up companies, or massive auction houses with decades of legacy, therefore, it is irrefutable that art e-commerce is a crucial facet of the future of the art market. Here are three benefits of buying art online that have spurred on this revolution.

  • Didier Claes booth, AKAA Art Fair, Paris, November 2019
    Didier Claes booth, AKAA Art Fair, Paris, November 2019

    For all the talk of the ‘African Art Boom’ in recent years, it isn’t always evident why is African contemporary art trending and what this boom entails, how it came to be, or what the future of the African art market is.