Strauss & Co is South Africa’s leading Fine Art Auction House and the global leader in the South African art market.
Strauss & Co is founded on prodigious expertise and distinctive presentation and is synonymous with top quality art, decorative arts and jewellery.
With an average turnover per annum of over R155 million and an average sell-through rate of over 80%, Strauss & Co has sold nine of the ten most expensive paintings ever auctioned in South Africa as well as holding numerous artists’ sale records.
Strauss & Co was established in 2008 by celebrated figures in the business world, Mrs Elisabeth Bradley and Dr Conrad Strauss as well as art doyen Stephan Welz, with the purpose of placing auctioneering on a plane worthy of the best South Africa has to offer in both the fine and decorative arts.
In March 2009 Strauss & Co held its highly successful inaugural auction selling over 87% of the lots on offer and turning over almost R 39 million.
Shortly afterwards a Cape Town office was established and auctions have been held bi-annually in both Johannesburg and Cape Town ever since.
Early in 2016, Strauss & Co announced important appointments to its Board and team of art specialists bolstering the rock solid legacy of founding managing director, Stephan Welz, who passed away at the end of 2015.
Frank Kilbourn has been appointed Executive Chairman of Strauss and Co. Kilbourn is well-known and respected in business and the art world and brings with him substantial knowledge, experience and passion in both fields of enterprise.
Kilbourn began his professional career in law, merchant banking and business in the 1990s. In 2002 he founded the Bright Group of companies, focusing on private equity and venture capital. He is also co-founder of Bright Foundation, a PBO (Public Benefit Organisation) dedicated to the advancement of education, nature conservation and the promotion of arts and culture.
Frank and his wife, Lizelle, began collecting art while still students at what is now the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and over a period of thirty years they have built up an exceptional collection representative of both modern and contemporary South African art. They are also involved in fundraising for the preservation of important local collections.
The Board of Directors currently comprises eminent business persons who have a passion for art and well-known industry specialists with a well established history in art and art auctions.
The members of the board are Mr Frank Kilbourn (Executive Chairman), Mrs Elisabeth Bradley (Retired Chairman), Dr Conrad Strauss, Mrs Caro Wiese, Mrs Carmen Welz, Mrs Susie Goodman, Mrs Bina Genovese and Mrs Vanessa Phillips (Joint Managing Directors).
In 2013, Strauss & Co became the first art auction house in South Africa to hold online art auctions featuring works of art by well-known artists that are targeted at entry-level buyers.
StraussOnline has grown exponentially with an average of four online auctions now being held annually.