Cassirer Welz Award

Bag Factory Artists’ Studios is proud to host the annual Cassirer Welz Award, in partnership with Strauss & Co. Now in its ninth 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 Artists’ Studios, culminating in a solo exhibition of newly-created work at a leading commercial art gallery.

“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.”

Previous winners of the Cassirer Welz Award include Olivia Botha, Blessing Ngobeni, Asanda Kupa, Nompumelelo Ngoma, Tshepo Mosopa, Thato Nhlapho, Richad ‘Specs’ Ndimande and Keneilwe Mokoena.

The winner of the award receives studio space, a contribution towards material costs and a transport stipend, as well as the opportunity to interact with the resident artists at the Bag Factory. Through the exchange of ideas, mentorship and skills development, the artist has an opportunity for substantial creative and professional growth.

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.

The call for entries for the Cassirer Welz Award 2019 are now open! Click on the image below to find out more about the award and how to apply before Sunday 6 October 2019 (midight, SAST).

Previous winners:

2018 - Olivia Botha

2017 - Richard Ndimande

2016 - Nompumelelo Ngoma

2015 - Keneilwe Mokoena

2014 - Thato Nhlapo

2013 - Asanda Kupa

2012 - Blessing Ngobeni

2011 - Tshepo Mosopa