Pierneef oils depicting scenes from his African travels
30 Jun 2022
Due to be held in Johannesburg on 12 July 2022, the catalogue for this specialist sale includes two outstanding oils from 1936 and 1954, as well as a comprehensive offering of linocuts, etchings, drawings, watercolours and caseins.
Following on the runaway success of its inaugural series of single-artist sales devoted to artists John Muafangejo, JH Pierneef and Irma Stern, Strauss & Co is pleased to announce details of a virtual-live auction dedicated once again entirely to works by Pierneef. “Collectors have shown great interest in our niche artist-focussed sales,” says Alastair Meredith, head of Strauss & Co’s art department. “All the works in our two single-artist sales devoted to JH Pierneef and Irma Stern found buyers, which is a fantastic affirmation of their enduring appeal and collectability. It was clear from the global response to our maiden Pierneef sale in 2021 that his stylised approach to landscape has wide appeal.”
A recent report on the African art market issued by London-based research firm ArtTactic places Pierneef amongst the top ten African artists sold at auction between 2016 and 2021. Pierneef earned $12.9 million from 361 lots, much of that volume handled in South Africa. The top-selling African artist is Marlene Dumas, followed by Irma Stern.
Pierneef’s travels across the African continent form the basis of the key lots in the upcoming sale. A frequent visitor to Namibia, his portrayal of the Erongo Mountains (estimate R3 – 4 million) is dated 1936. The oil has an excellent provenance, being formally owned by the storied Schweickerdt family of art dealers and patrons based in Pretoria. There is also a large work that draws on Pierneef’s final trip to Zanzibar in 1954. It depicts an architectural feature of Mbweni, a town on the Tanzanian island of Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar (estimate R3 – 4 million).
Interest in Pierneef’s brand of romantic modernism and adventurous enquiry cuts across ages and collector profiles. The make-up of the forthcoming sale will be attractive to a variety of collectors. In addition to an attractive offering of his signature oils, there is a strong selection of his popular linocuts, some rare etchings, as well as drawings, watercolours and caseins that evidence Pierneef’s refined notational skills.
The sale is supported by an e-catalogue that will focus on individual works. Works in this sale will be exhibited at Strauss & Co’s Houghton gallery in the two weeks prior to the sale. With the world having largely moved back to in-person contact, Strauss & Co is encouraging collectors to attend its programme of educational talks and walkabouts (see strauss.co.za). It also invites bidders to immerse themselves in the excitement of live bidding in the salesroom.
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