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Museum quality artwork in Strauss & Co's November auction
October 11, 2012
The final sale of Strauss & Companys 2012 auction calendar is set for 12 November 2012. Comprising 237 items across the full spectrum of South African art there promises to be something for everyone, it is however the number of museum quality works that is sure to draw the buyers in.
Headlining the sale is Rosamund King Everard-Steenkamp’s Still Life with Erythrina Caffra. This seminal work is a vibrant and highly decorative painting reminiscent of works by the Bloomsbury Group of London. A flamboyant and unconventional character, Rosamund had no formal art training but was a pivotal member of the Everard Group, the remarkably creative family of five women painters who lived in Carolina in Mpumalanga and span four generations. Isolated as they were from the artistic communities of Pretoria and Cape Town, they developed a visual language that has avoided many of the sentimentalities of 20th century South African painting.
It is the feast of Alexis Preller works on offer that has the Strauss & Company specialists aflutter. “Alexis Preller is one of our most important 20th century artist’s. He and his Pretoria contemporary, Walter Battiss, were responsible for creating a new visual language in South African art,” says the spokesperson for the Johannesburg office. “We are fortunate to be offering three major works by Preller in November: Girl with Oriole, Grand Mapogga III and Anubis. Their inclusion in our sale is exciting in that these works span his career and show the chronological development of his visual iconography.”
Walter Battiss’s African Figures, a densely worked calligraphic composition was included in the Pretoria centennial exhibition of 1955 and is offered for the first time since purchase at auction. As a young boy Battiss became fascinated with rock art and this early interest was pivotal in his decision to change career paths and more importantly the way in which he chose to handle his subject matter. His style was unique and like Preller he was a true pioneer in exploring a uniquely South African iconography within his work..
Contemporary collectors also have the opportunity to acquire a major work by Pieter Hugo from his Hyena and Other Men series. Titled Mallum Umaru Ahmadu with Amita, Abjuba, Nigeria this striking image was taken by Hugo after he received an MMS from a friend who was in Nigeria at the time. This prompted him to travel to Nigeria in 2005 and 2007 where he photographed the members of this unique band of animal handlers.
Robert Hodgins is well represented in this sale with a number of major canvasses coming under the hammer. Lyric Suite, a triptych is being sold by a private collector who is donating the proceeds from the sale to Wits Art Museum – a fitting tribute given Hodgins' long-standing involvement with Wits University as a lecturer.
Public viewing is scheduled from 9 – 11 November from 10am till 5pm daily at the Johannesburg Country Club, Woodmead. Walkabouts hosted by specialists will be conducted at 11am on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November. Please contact 011-728-8246 or visit www.straussart.co.za for further details.
Text by Phillippa Duncan
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