Stephan Welz & Co. has a proud track record of developing specialists from the grassroots level thanks to our Angel Programme. One of the biggest successes in our history is undoubtedly Sophie-Louise Frohlich. Learn more about this angel who is taking flight:
- When and where were you born?
I was born in Bellville, Cape Town, 33 years ago.
- Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Northern suburbs and attended school in Tamboerskloof at the Deutsche Schule Kapstadt. Thereafter I enrolled at UCT in a BMus in Dance majoring in Spanish dance and History of Art.
- How long have you been working for Stephan Welz & Co.?
I’ve been working for Stephan Welz & Co as a full time employee since 2011.
- How did you start working for Stephan Welz & Co.?
I began working as an angel at the auctions in 2010 and was offered an internship with the company assisting Anton Welz, before becoming a permanent staff member.
- What, in your opinion, does it take to host a successful auction?
A successful auction is a culmination of so many varied ingredients, all equally important in their own right. The starting point for me would be, however, quality over quantity.
- What was your favourite item auctioned by Stephan Welz & Co.?
At every auction I have a special piece that I consider to be my ‘baby’ and which I try and nurture through as best I can. In the past pieces have included a fabulous German walnut Stollenschrank of international quality as well as my first wildlife photograph, which is a new category that I introduced at auction.
- What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career/personal life?
In my personal life, I guess being the recipient of the Mercedes Molina Award for best Spanish dancer in the Western Cape and having performed professionally in London. In my professional career it has been standing on the rostrum and doing my first two complete sessions as an auctioneer on the last JHB auction. I would also rate selling in February 2014 the Juergen Schadeberg “Nelson Mandela in his cell on Robben Island (revisit) 1994” signed by Mandela and Schadeberg for a South African record of R212 800 as another highlight.
- What would you like to achieve in your career?
I would love to be sent to watch a Sotheby’s, London or New York auction and speak to staff there as to how they perceive the auction world and bring back my experiences to South Africa. I really enjoy auctioneering and would like to achieve the title of auctioneer. To grow in my respective specialities and broaden my bases and to this end I have enrolled for the Honours program in History of Art at UCT beginning next year.
- How much has Stephan Welz & Co. changed over the years?
The company has undergone many changes, from its inception to now. Most notably would be the inclusion of contemporary art as well as tribal art, which are categories that are relevant in today’s art industry discourse.
- What is your favourite part of your job?
The freedom to be creative, the interaction with clients and standing on the rostrum. It is always such a pleasure to find a quality piece, research it and see it perform well.
- Do you have any hobbies?
Gardening, reading and I find exercising the best way to destress. I’ve got a super group of spin buddies so that always helps to motivate me as well as pilates classes.
- Can you tell us something about your family, like are they interested in art?
My sister owns her own pilates and gyrotonic studio in London and also danced professionally, touring overseas as well as dancing at Covent Garden. My parents are non-dancers, but are great music and theatre lovers, so we were very fortunate to pursue, what many would consider, not a ‘proper’ career. They did collect art in their younger years and were family friends with Anna Vorster. My grandfather was very interested in photography and through the printing trade, was friendly with van Essche and Tretchikoff.
- What has been the most important thing for you in your career?
- What do you think makes Stephan Welz & Co. so great?
The commitment of the staff to strive for excellence.
- Who has been the most important figure in your life (Career/Personal life)?
In my career: Professor Michael Godby and Anton Welz
In my personal life: my family
- What message do you have for others who wish to enter the art industry?
You’ve got to love the job, as it is a stressful fast paced environment.
Work hard and remember that your reputation and knowledge base precedes you and are very important to nurture. I would also suggest continually looking to further yourself in whatever category or subject interests you, as you will never know everything.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Watch this space.