Man makes thousands from trashed treasure

06 February 2013 - 02:20 By PHILANI NOMBEMBE

A 100-year-old painting retrieved from a refuse bin has been sold for more than R55 000.

The painting of The Bluff, Durban by renowned South African artist Ruth Prowse, featured at a Strauss & Co auction in Cape Town on Monday.

More than 100 paintings went under the hammer for a total of R46-million.

Strauss spokesman Bina Genovese said the painting was found by a man removing rubbish left by people vacating a house in Laingsburg 25 years ago.

Genovese said the man, whose name she would not reveal, recently responded to an advertisement calling on people to send pictures of paintings for evaluation.

"He was delighted when the auction house identified it as a Ruth Prowse and estimated it to be worth between R25000 and R30000.

"Even greater was his delight when it sold for R55700."

Genovese said the painting had not easily been identified because it was dirty and signed with Prowse's monogram and not her name.

"Also, the painting was executed in 1913, with Durban Bay not yet developed."

Prowse is one of this country's most celebrated artists. She was awarded the SA Association of Arts Medal of Honour in 1965.