Dr Matthys Johannes Strydom Family Collection, Day Sale

Timed Online Auction, 10 - 22 November 2022

Prints and Multiples

Sold for

ZAR 3 283
Lot 186
  • Gregoire Boonzaier; Selfportret (Self Portrait)
  • Gregoire Boonzaier; Selfportret (Self Portrait)
  • Gregoire Boonzaier; Selfportret (Self Portrait)

Lot Estimate
ZAR 2 000 - 3 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 3 283

About this Item

South African 1909-2005
Selfportret (Self Portrait)

signed, dated 1973 and inscribed with the dedication "Aan Matthys en Gesin" in pencil in the margin

linocut on brown paper
image size: 30,5 by 22,5cm; sheet size: 36 by 25,5cm; 48,5 by 36,5 by 1,5cm including frame


Gregoire Boonzaier was the first living artist of consequence that Matthys Strydom met during his journey as a collector. In 1967, Strydom’s son, Ludwig, was hospitalised in Cape Town. During their parental vigil, Matthys and his wife, Helene, attended an exhibition of Boonzaier’s work. Impressed, they looked up the artist’s name in the telephone directory and called the number. The ensuing meeting in Kenilworth led to the purchase of their first important painting, a wintery Cape landscape with a bare oak tree in front of whitewashed homesteads at Suurbraak, a former mission station in the Overberg. Produced a year earlier, the work (not included in this sale) cost R400.

The Strydom Collection includes 14 oils and a number of watercolours, all by Boonzaier’s hand. Most of the works date from the 1960s and 70s, a period of increasing national acclaim for Boonzaier, and reflect the warm relationship between artist and collector. However, the offering includes two oils from the 1940s that provide insight into Boonzaier’s earlier painterly style and diverse subject matter. Lot 259 is a gorgeous flower study from 1941 that mixes precise mark making with showy brushwork and superfluous decorative details. Showmanship and painterly delight are hallmarks of Boonzaier’s still lifes. This is evident in the rich surface treatment the artist lavishes on the sectioned melons appearing in lot 261. Painted in 1969, this impressive still life is an ancestor to Penny Siopis’ extravagant banquet paintings of the  1980s, which feature similarly vigorous depictions of melons.

Boonzaier’s interest in Cape vernacular architecture led him to frequently portray street scenes from Bo-Kaap and District Six. Works describing these central suburbs of Cape Town are now highly sought after. In 2015, Strauss & Co sold a Bo-Kaap scene for R1,136 million. Lot 263, which generously depicts a ziggurat of yellow homes in Bo-Kaap, stands capably next to this record-earning work. Lot 256, a view of Table Mountain from Hanover Street in District Six, is typical of Boonzaier’s architectural scenes. See for example lot 258, which shows a mosque in District Six. “The impression of ephemerality and spontaneity it creates particularly struck me,” writes Strydom in reference to the latter work.1

Among the many artists discussed in Strydom’s two books, Boonzaier emerges as an important friend and mentor. Strydom was selective in following the artist’s advice, notably ignoring Boonzaier’s attempts to dissuade him from opening an art gallery in George. “No man, that place is just full of art philistines!” remarked Boonzaier, who starting in 1946 regularly exhibited and lectured in small towns across South Africa.2 In Strydom’s view, Boonzaier’s contributions to building interest in art among ordinary folk ranks alongside his efforts founding the New Group and South African Association of Arts. Fittingly, the Strydom Collection includes one of the artist’s many self-portraits, lot 257, made before the arrival of his white beard.

1. Matthys J. Strydom (2016) Stories teen my muur, Eversdal: Inset Uitgewers, page 25.
2. Ibid, page 33.


Dr Matthys Johannes Strydom Family Collection.


Foundation for the Creative Arts (2006) Gregoire Boonzaire, Retrospective Exhibition, Johannesburg: Foundation for the Creative Arts, illustrated in black and white on page 26, cat. no. 68.

Oranje-Vrystaad University (no date) Gregoire Boonzaier, exhibition catalogue, Bloemfontein: Oranje-Vrystaad University, signed 'Mei 1981' by the artist , illustrated on the back cover.

View all Gregoire Boonzaier lots for sale in this auction

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