16 Sep Q&A with Dr Fred Scott
Despite studying and going to work in the sciences, Dr Fred Scott was always drawn to the arts. During his student days he started collecting art, and has never stopped. Today, Dr Scott is MD of Stephan Welz & Co. auction house, has curated numerous exhibitions and advises individuals on starting private collections. He is a specialist on Modern and Contemporary art.
In the run-up to the FNB Joburg Art Fair, which is all about the business of art, we thought to touch in with Dr Scott to hear his thoughts on the subject that he has spent most of his life involved in – the collecting of art.
What is the current state of the contemporary South African art market?
The contemporary art market is in a very exciting phase, although probably in its infancy in South Africa. Contemporary artists today have the freedom to select from a plethora of media in order to express their conceptual ideas. Underpinning this is an enormous responsibility to produce advanced and well thought through artwork which may not always readily be appreciated by viewers.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a personal art collection?
The advice is universal; visit art museums and make an effort to view as many different art exhibitions as possible in order to develop a discerning eye and personal feeling for artworks that communicate with you.
What are some of the common mistakes people make?
What appeals to one at the onset of art buying does not necessarily please one further down the line. This could be viewed as a mistake, especially if purchased at a high cost. But, as one’s taste develops over time, these errors are forgiven and accepted as a learning curve in training the eye to a level where sound aesthetic judgments can be made.
Which South African artist would you buy for R10 000, R50 000 and R100 000+ and why?
It is difficult to choose between the many outstanding South African artists. At this stage I would combine all the above amounts to buy a top work in the secondary market for R160 000+. I will look out for a Wolf Kibel oil painting as he was one of South Africa’s most interesting and foremost expressionistic painters.