Cassirer Welz Award

The Bag Factory is proud to host the annual Cassirer Welz Award, in partnership with Strauss Education. Now in its eleventh year, the award honours two doyens of art auctioneering in South Africa: Reinhold Cassirer and Stephan Welz.

The award acknowledges excellence in emerging artists specialising in sculpture, drawing and painting, and provides an opportunity to showcase their talents to a broader audience. The winner receives a ten-week residency at the Bag Factory, culminating in a solo exhibition of newly-created work at a leading commercial art gallery. Through the exchange of ideas, mentorship and skills development, the artist has an opportunity for substantial creative and professional growth.

“Since its inception, this award has helped the winners launch their careers and really start making a name for themselves within the South Africa art market,” says Susie Goodman, Executive Director, Strauss & Co. Johannesburg. “This award is an important part of Strauss & Co’s ongoing and substantial commitment to young talent in southern Africa – and is a powerful example of the company’s investment in the art of the future.”

The Cassirer Welz Award was originally founded as the Reinhold Cassirer in 2011 by Nadine Gordimer, one of South Africa’s most celebrated authors and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, to celebrate the life and work of her late husband Reinhold Cassirer, a renowned collector and dealer. In 1968, Cassirer founded Sotheby’s South Africa. When he retired in 1980 to pursue other interests, Stephan Welz, his key protégé, inherited the mantle.

After more than 26 years at the head of Stephan Welz & Co, Welz sold the company and founded Strauss & Co in 2009 with prominent figures from the business world, Mrs Elisabeth Bradley and Dr Conrad Strauss. Strauss & Co has since become the largest fine art auction house in South Africa.

After Gordimer’s passing in 2014, Strauss & Co pledged its support to the award – a partnership that has continued to this day. Sadly, Stephan Welz passed away in 2015. In 2016 the Reinhold Cassirer Award was renamed the Cassirer Welz Award, as a fitting tribute to the two men who had contributed so much to the South African art world.

2023 Cassirer Welz Award Recipient 

Bulumko Mbete
This award has been made possible with the support of Strauss&Co. Fine Art Auctioneers and Business and Art South Africa. 



Mpumelelo Buthelezi


Levy Pooe

Duduzile (Dudubloom) More

Olivia Botha

Richard 'Specs' Ndimande

Nompumelelo Ngoma

Keneilwe Mokoena

Thato Nhlapo

Asanda Kupa

Blessing Ngobeni

Tshepo Mosopa