Strauss & Co’s upcoming November online-only auction offers art collectors a special focus on the Cape

24 Nov 2022

The multi-session online-only sale of modern and contemporary art includes a special focussed session revealing numerous South African artists’ obsession with the Cape landscape over time, titled The Fairest Cape.

The Fairest Cape.

“The Cape Peninsula has been given many names throughout history, says Strauss & Co Senior Art Specialist Ann Palmer who is leading this sale. “In 1488 Vasco da Gama named it the Cape of Storms and Prince Henry the Navigator gave it the name Cape of Good Hope. But it was the English Admiral, Sir Francis Drake, who gave this south-western most point of Africa the most appropriate name when he declared in 1579, this Cape is a most stately thing, and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth. These words still ring true today”, she continues

The November auction offers a large body of work devoted to this exceptional part of the world.

The cover lot for the sale, titled A View of Cape Town from Signal Hill (estimates R 80 000 – 100 000) is a spectacular view of Table Bay painted by the artist Nita Spilhaus, which was a wedding gift from the artist to her niece in January 1931.  There are numerous works depicting the streets of Cape Town and of the towns and villages in the Cape, such as Worcester, Arniston, Elim, Genadendal, Napier, Stellenbosch and Paternoster, by artists Gregoire Boonzaier, Jean Welz, Terence McCaw, Errol Boyley, and Kenneth Baker to name but a few.   

In addition to the Cape-focus offering, this online sale includes curated themes for collectors to invest in artworks by renowned South African artists at affordable estimates to start their collection.


The Self Portrait has a long standing tradition in art history as a popular subject matter by artists. According to art historian Marjory Reynolds “Everything you do is a portrait of yourself.” The self-portraits in this focused session give insight into the historical roots of the modern day smartphone ‘Selfie.’ 

Artist and photographer, Cristina Nuñez, has studied self-portraiture and sums it up concisely in The Self Portrait Experience: “A self-portrait is our inner image, our private image. It is generally produced in a longer lapse of time, in a situation centered on the creative process. It springs from the inner life of the author, who is also subject and spectator. He does not control the image, on the contrary, it’s the creative process which allows the unconscious to speak with the language of art. The self-portrait is a profound dialog with oneself, guided by the author’s vulnerability.” 


The mouth-watering selection of prints and multiples on this sale should have great appeal to a wide range of buyers. From collectors of a particular artist, such as Robert Hodgins or Judith Mason, to the fledgling collectors looking for a way to enter the art market without having to spend a fortune. Highlights by international artists include etchings by Pablo Picasso, Joan Mitchell and French painter Jean Jansem, with popular editions by local artists such as Marlene Dumas, Penny Siopis, Deborah Bell and Cecil Skotnes, amongst others.


These are worth a close look! There are some hidden gems on offer in this session dedicated to modern and contemporary paintings. Amongst the wide array on offer, there is an opportunity to acquire high quality paintings that represent excellent value, having found their way back onto the market at realistic estimates – including still lifes, figural, landscapes and abstract paintings.     The online-only auction is now open for bidding and concludes on Monday 28 November 2022, with the first session ‘The Fairest Cape’ closing at 6pm and the remaining sessions of the auction closing at 8pm.

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