knockout drawings by kentridge and victor on offer at strauss & co

Knockout drawings by Kentridge and Victor on offer at Strauss & Co

4 Nov 2021

In 1997, when the illustrious Goodman Gallery moved into its new Johannesburg premises in Parkwood, it presented an exhibition composed of its leading artists, among them Willie Bester, Norman Catherine, Robert Hodgins, William Kentridge and Penny Siopis.

This influential generation of 1990s artists forms an important component of the catalogue for Johannesburg Auction Week, Strauss & Co’s multi-day live virtual auction (7-9 November 2021).

The sale includes two important drawings by Kentridge, an internationally celebrated artist whose film City Deep (2020) was recently acquired by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Strauss & Co is proud to offer Drawing from Other Faces (estimate R1.8 – 2.4 million), from Kentridge’s earlier film Other Faces (2011). It depicts a large drive-in screen and is loosely based on the abandoned Top Star drive-in movie theatre, which was famously located atop a Johannesburg mine dump.

Drawing is the bedrock of Kentridge’s distinguished practice and typically manifests in diverse ways. Anamorphic Drawing (Telephone) is a remarkable 2000 example of the artist’s experimental use of perspective and reflection (estimate R1.5 – 2 million). Acquired by the seller in New York, the work features a stainless steel cylinder at the centre of a drawing, its blur of charcoal only legible on the reflective surface of the cylinder.

Other Kentridge lots include Skeletal Horse (estimate R600 000 – 800 000), a large etching printed from 20 brass plates by Artist Proof Studio. The work was released to coincide with Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments mural project along the Tiber River in Rome. The screenprint Art in a State of Siege (estimate R500 000 – 700 000) is one of Kentridge’s best-known works on paper from the 1980s and references an important 1986 essay by the artist.

Kentridge collectors will relish the opportunity to bid on a library of 74 books by and on Kentridge (estimate R250 000 – 300 000). Assembled by sociologist and collector Jan K Coetzee, the library includes rare early books from the 1990s by art historians Michael Godby and Rory Doepel, as well as two books by celebrated American art historian Rosalind Krauss.

Works from Coetzee’s collection are due to be auctioned in a standalone session on Tuesday, 9 November 2021 at 6pm, Coetzee was strongly drawn to artists associated with the Goodman Gallery in the 1990s and beyond. Kentridge aside, there are three paintings apiece by Robert Hodgins and Penny Siopis. The highlight of the Hodgins trio is the egg-yellow and red composition Artist Resting (estimate R80 000 – 120 000) from 2010. The top Siopis lot is No-No (estimate R70 000 – 90 000), an affecting 2005 study of weeping women achieved in deep reds.

On the day preceding the sale of Coetzee’s collection, Strauss & Co will offer a number of high-value lots by Hodgins. They include Untitled (Crowd Scene) (estimate R600 000 – 800 000), a figural composition characterized by the artist’s use of light washes of paint and translucent colour to create the illusion of mass bodily movement within the image, and Figure by a River (estimate R500 000 – 700 000) from 2006.

Norman Catherine’s The Five Senses (estimate R250 000 – 350 000), a sculptural tableau composed of five carved and painted wood figures, leads a selection of seven works by this popular artist. Inmates (estimate R120 000 – 160 000) is a vivid figural fantasy gouache dated 1991. Another Goodman Gallery artist who appeared in Lift Off II in 1997 was Willie Bester, whose sculpture Restricted Area (estimate R30 000 – 50 000) comprises various found objects mounted inside a jerry can.

Other notable artists associated with the Goodman Gallery since 1966 with work in the catalogue for Strauss & Co’s Johannesburg Auction Week include Willem Boshoff, Dumile Feni, Sydney Kumalo, Judith Mason, Alexis Preller, Cecil Skotnes, and Diane Victor.

A consummate draughtsperson with few peers, Victor is represented in the sale by two knockout works. Executed in 1992, the triptych Nastagio Degli Onesti and the Difficult Decision (estimate R700 000 – 900 000) is a study of the mistreatment of women. From the Coetzee collection, Victor’s The Three Fates (estimate R160 000 – 180 000) is an ash drawing and reinterprets the three Moirai, incarnations of destiny in Greek mythology, as contemporary figures. This remarkable drawing was originally presented at the artist’s University of Johannesburg show Ashes to Ashes and Smoke to Dust in 2012.

The drawings by Victor and Kentridge in Johannesburg Auction Week attest to the artistry underpinning the new vanguard of artists introduced and represented by the Goodman Gallery over the years. All the works mentioned in this media release are available to purchase at Johannesburg Auction Week (7–9 November 2021). The works can be previewed at Strauss & Co’s dedicated exhibition space at 89 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg. Covid-19 regulations apply.


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