Mthatha-born, East London-raised artist’s record photo

This is South Africa’s most expensive photograph. The shot by Athi-Patra Ruga sold for R1,707,000 at an auction on Saturday at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
Strauss & Co director Bina Genovese said two determined bidders drove the price for the 2013 photograph‚ The Knight of the Long Knives‚ to six times its pre-sale estimate.
“The remarkable sale price not only set a new world record for the Mthatha-born and East London-raised artist‚ but also marked the first time a photograph has ever sold for more than R1m at a local auction‚” she said.
“Ruga was thronged by well-wishers when he attended the Investec Cape Town Art Fair the day after the sale.”
Genovese said the 35-year-old photographer’s record was one of six set at the sale for SA art.
“The top-selling lot after Ruga was an early student work by painter Marlene Dumas‚ a portrait of her lecturer Dimitri Fanourakis‚ which sold for R1.593m‚ a South African record for the Amsterdam-based artist‚” she said.
“A remarkable colourist landscape painted in 1997 by Robert Hodgins rounded off the top three‚ fetching R1.024m.”
Genovese said younger painters and photographers shone in the sale‚ with painter Mustafa Maluka’s 2008 portrait You Say the Things You Think You Have to Say‚ selling for R477‚960.
Bride Dressed as Cake‚ an energetic expressionist study of a smiling bride‚ sold for R261‚740‚ while Ed with Bubbles‚ an affectionate portrait of artist Ed Young‚ fetched R250‚360...

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