With a focus on Studies and Drawings, Strauss & Co’s October online auction appeals to established and first-time collectors

2 Oct 2023

Strauss & Co’s October timed online sale of Modern and Contemporary Art, open from 2 to 9 October 2023, offers established collectors the opportunity to diversify their collections, and affords first-time collectors the chance to start their collections.

The sale, which features over 300 works, will include Strauss & Co’s first themed focus on Studies and Drawings. Here, a range of contemporary South African artists are represented, as well as Old Masters including J.H Pierneef, Alexis Preller, and Jean Welz

Adding diversity and different perspectives to a collection

Valued for their ability to allow for a close study of an artist’s technique, studies and drawings can enhance one’s understanding and appreciation of the artist’s finished works. 

Strauss & Co Art Specialist Arisha Maharaj explains that sketches, drawings and studies hold a unique aesthetic appeal, marked by their intimacy and unpolished authenticity. 

“Studies and drawings are raw and unfiltered aspects of an artist’s thoughts and ideas. They can add to the diversity of your collection, offering a different perspective on the artist’s body of work, showcasing their versatility, experimentation and the exploration of their ideas,” says Maharaj. 

Highlights include two pencil sketches from J.H. Pierneef – Acacia (estimate R25 000 – R35 000), and Golden Gate, OVS (estimate R30 000 – R40 000) as well as a striking self-portrait by François Krige (estimate R10 000 – R15 000). 

A number of nude figure studies feature in the session. Among these are Preller’s Nude Figures, sketch (estimate R3000 – R5000), Anna Vorster’s ephemeral Male Figure Study (estimate R4000 – R6000) and a pencil drawing by Jean Welz titled Woman (estimate R12 000 – R15 000).  

Otto Klar, who is largely known for his seascapes and landscapes, also features in the session, with a rare Book of Nude Studies (estimate R10 000 – R15 000) and the simple, yet distinctive drawing Magnolia (estimate R3000 – R5000). 

There is also a collection of six drawings by Robert Hodgins, all from the late artist’s estate. These include figure studies, nude studies and two works from his sought-after Ubu series, namely Ubu Pretre et Penitent (estimate R18 000 – R24 000) and Seated Ubu Figure (estimate R15 000 – R20 000).

Other prominent works in the Studies and Drawings session include works by Andrew Verster, David Botha and Judith Mason. Overall, the session is affordable, accessible and features unique works by recognisable names.

The Art Club session features 24 works and carries a slight KwaZulu-Natal focus, with two paintings by Nichola LeighNguni Cattle at Cumberland (estimate R4000 – R6000) and Spionkop Dam with Ngunis (estimate R4000 – R6000) – and a painting by Clément Sénèque who spent a significant period in Durban, painting its harbours.

Highlights from this session include an Allerley Glossop beach scene (estimate R5000 – R7000), Guy du Toit’s Triumphant Hare (estimate R15 000 – R20 000) and the Walter Battiss Vaal river watercolour (estimate R30 0000 – R40 000). There is also the stunning Erich Mayer work, Bushveld Painting (estimate R25 000 – R30 000). 

Landscapes, portraits, and portfolios

A selection of portfolios feature in the sale, including Cecil SkotnesMan’s Gold (estimate R30 000 – R40 000) and White Monday Disaster (estimate R20 000 – R30 000). The Brenthurst Press for the Friends of the Joburg Art Gallery (estimate R50 000 – R70 000) is another noteable portfolio and includes works by Hodgins, Ezrom Legae, Karel Nel and Malcolm Payne.

A strong portraiture theme is represented in the sale, grouped in the Impression/Expression session. Portraits by Christo Coetzee are highlights in this regard, as is the Emily Fern Portrait of Man (estimate R8000 – R12 000). Further works by Johannes Meintjes, Bettie Cilliers-Barnard, Armando Baldinelli, Carl Büchner, and two self-portraits by Gregoire Boonzaier make for a strong session of portraiture. 

Finally, a large quantity of landscapes are represented across the sale. Traditional landscapes from Willem Hermanus Coetzer feature, as well as Pieter Wenning’s Landscape with farm houses (estimate R15 000 – R200 000). Other landscape works are from Christopher Tugwell, Tinus de Jongh, Gabriel de Jongh, and Boonzaier. 

Altogether, the sale offers a great deal of variety for collectors. “Online sales are great starting points for collectors,” adds Maharaj. “With works ranging from R3000 to R150 000, it’s a very affordable sale for anyone to start collecting.”     

Strauss & Co’s October timed online sale opens for bidding on Monday, 2 October at 8.00am. The auction closes in 1-minute intervals from 2pm on Monday 9 October. 

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