Strauss & Co takes you on a journey through abstraction in their latest 19th Century, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary offering

15 Jun 2022

Strauss & Co’s latest live virtual sale takes place on Tuesday 28 June 2022 and includes three sessions of fine art, including a session devoted entirely to Abstract Art created in South Africa, titled In/Tangible: South African Abstract Art.

The 108 lots available to browse, bid and buy in this curated session include prints, portfolios, works on paper, paintings, and sculptures, by local artists working in a broad array of Abstract styles.

Cubist Abstraction is an art form that many South African artists implement in their practice. This type of artmaking uses geometric and stylised forms to combine non-objective compositions or produce figural representations. Initiated by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in 1907 and ending with Josef Albers’ geometric abstraction, who died in 1976, the style is extremely broad. A particular characteristic of this movement was the influence of African material culture on the stylisation of the figure, seen clearly in Abstract Figure by Cecil Skotnes (estimates R 7 000 – 9 000) or Ezrom Legae’s Torso (estimates R 4 000 – 6 000).

Abstract Expressionism is a particular term assigned to new forms of Abstract Art developed by American artists Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning working in the 1940s and 1950s. It is often characterized by gestural brushstrokes or mark-making and the impression of spontaneity is evident in the work by George Boys, titled Touch (estimates R 8 000 – 12 000).

Tachisme is a related term used to describe the non-geometric abstract art that developed in Europe in the same period. The auction presents a special focus on artist Christo Coetzee, who was hugely influenced by the European abstract movement of Tachisme, seen referenced in his work El Cordobés (estimates R 5 000- 7000), along with additional influences by the Japanese Gutai Art Association, of which his work Yellow Baroque Form (estimates R 80 000 – 120 000) is a striking example.

These styles continue to impact artmaking in South Africa as Contemporary artists continue this trend, visible in the unique geometric compositions of Esther Mahlangu’s Untitled (2007) (estimates R 15 000 – 20 000), and Maja Marx Black Block (estimates R 30 000 – 50 000); the spontaneous mark-makings of Zander Blom in 1.269 [Untitled] (estimates R 40 000 – 60 000); the collage and assemblage in White Flag (Squall) by Julia Rosa Clarke (estimates R 10 000 – 15 000); and the meticulously hand-drawn abstract forms in Tone 6 and Tone 9 by Paul Edmunds (each with estimates R 15 000 – 20 000).

To conclude the sale, Strauss & Co is proud to support established artist Jill Trappler’s latest initiative, The Orange Art Project (OAP). OAP introduces children and youth in foster homes throughout the Western Cape to creativity, arts and crafts through a network of diverse professional artists to assist in educational and social development. Local artists and organisations such as Sam Nhlengethwa, LL Editions, Lwando Dlamini and Pat Mautloa have donated artwork to raise funds for this worthy cause.

Strauss & Co’s June live virtual sale of 19th Century, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art will run on Tuesday 28 June at the following times:

Session 1 at 10am: 19th Century, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art Part I (lots 1-88)
Session 2 at 2pm: 
19th Century, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art Part II (lots 91-195)
Session 3 at 6pm: 
In/Tangible: South African Abstract Art (lots 201-308)