Joao Ferreira

Art Dealer

Art has been my trade for more than 20 years and although I closed my exhibiting gallery in 2010 I continue to work closely with both established and emerging artists. Now that I am no longer involved in the ins-and-outs of exhibitions, my energies are wholly focused on collections and collecting. Through connoisseurship and a continued cultivation of collectors’ enthusiasms, I am able both to establish new collections and enhance existing ones. 



p: +27 82 490 2977

dealing room

Interview for Art Times September 2015

1: How did you become passionate about antiques, art and design?

Oddly enough, my career as a marine engineer (in the early 80’s) first piqued my interest in art and design. My travels through Europe and the Mediterranean fostered a great love for aesthetics and my passion was further sparked when I discovered the potential for a contemporary art market here in South Africa. The art scene was at its most nascent and I opened the first contemporary gallery in the city center – what came to be a dominant driving force in the development of the South African contemporary art world. I began exploring artists I liked, hitting on the emerging talents of then little-known figures and working alongside them as their careers evolved. This evolution - ever-present in the art scene - is what has sustained my passion.


2: What excites you most about this industry?

The continuous change whether evinced in the enhancement of a particular collection, the development in an artist’s career, or the wavering enthusiasms for a particular style or medium.

Another interesting (and exciting) challenge I have found over the years is the almost contradictory nature of curating - both for galleries and private collections. The curatorial process is for me, the creation of a framework within which things can happen freely: a structure allowing for free-flowing movement.


3: How have you witnessed this industry develop over the years?

An art market once centered around three small galleries in Cape Town where deals were brokered over Saturday morning coffees, has developed into a thriving industry abuzz with new artists, new galleries, and new dialogue. In the past, the driving force of the art world was a handful of power-centric cities - New York, London - but it is now far more diverse. The most powerful change is electronic information – the ability to show images anywhere, almost instantly.


4: How does the antiques, art and design industry in South Africa currently compare with overseas markets?

By international standards, we are still a fledgling market. But it is just this, which makes the South African art industry so very exciting. The emerging, yet-to-mature aspect welcomes the newcomer and creates an accessible market with enormous room for growth.


5: Do you have any investment / buying tips for our readers?

Look, look, look. An enquiring mind is one of the greatest aids when deciding on an artwork. Constant exposure (through galleries, museums, art fairs) is vital to a refined aesthetic sensibility – and this is vital to any worthwhile acquisition.

Don’t be afraid to question. The art scene is notoriously intimidating, but equipping yourself with knowledge is essential.

Token works by established artists may seem a sensible choice. I however, am much more excited by new techniques and unfamiliar styles.