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Stern lilies in Strauss's highest-value sale
October 22, 2010 [ Archived ]
Strauss & Co, specialist auction house for South African fine art, offers its highest value sale to date with a selection of top quality paintings by many sought-after artists on its November 1 auction at the Country Club Johannesburg, Woodmead.
The auction includes two still-life paintings of lilies by Irma Stern as well as landscapes by JH Pierneef and Pieter Wenning, and could realise more than R40 million.
White Lilies (R4m-R5m) has excited interest since it was first seen on Irma Stern's solo exhibition at the Argus Gallery in March 1941.Also included is the picnic basket that Stern famously always carried and packed with substantial lunches. It rests on fabric that Christopher Peter of the Irma Stern Museum has identified as part of a favourite cushion cover still in the museum today. Probably of Indonesian origin, the fabric may well have been bought on the east coast on one of Stern's journeys from Cape Town to Europe. Lilies (R4m-R5m) was painted just three years later.
Several major paintings by Pierneef are attracting keen attention. Baobab Tree (R5m-7m), painted in 1946, captures all the majestic grandeur of the tree. Pierneef's Barbeton en Nelshoogte, Kaapschehoop (R3m-R4m) was acquired from the artist by Johannes Lambertus van Schaick (1888-1965) on November 25 1949 and inherited by his son Jan Jacob van Schaik (1917-2009). The former came to SA from Holland in 1911 and joined the bookseller De Bussy in Johannesburg. In 1914 he founded the bookselling and publishing house JL van Schaik in Pretoria.
With its view from the Nelshoogte plateau along the southern part of the Mpumalanga escarpment area west of Barbeton, the painting offers a vista that is breathtaking in its scale and ability to evoke the vastness of the South African landscape, says Bina Genovese of Strauss & Co.
"The foreground has an astonishing wealth of detail in the vegetation and thorn trees so emblematic of Pierneef's landscape paintings."