Business Development Specialist
Kate Fellens (b. 1982, Boston, USA) is a lover of the arts and of South Africa. She has spent her entire career involved with auction houses worldwide and brings her passion for auctions to the Strauss & Co team.
Kate double majored in Art History and French Studies at Williams College, Massachusetts and began her career at Christie’s in New York. She moved to Paris to complete a post-graduate degree through Christie’s Education and joined the Christie’s Paris team. Her interest in corporate collections and art funds grew during this time and her thesis was written on art as an investable asset class and portfolio diversification.
A further move to London saw Kate join Barclay’s Private Bank, in a team focused on High Net Worth Individuals. Kate brought an art advisory expertise to the financial institutions team. However, her desire to be closer to the art works themselves saw her return to Christie’s, where she spent the next 7 years in London focusing on Client Development department with the Impressionist and Post War & Contemporary departments. Kate is privileged to have worked on a number of important sales, including the The C. Ruxton and Audrey B. Love Collection, The Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé hosted at the Grand Palais in Paris, and the re-creation of Truman Capote’s famed 1966 Black and White ball for an auction benefiting New York’s famed Plaza Hotel.
Kate has since lived in Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa, for over 5 years, where her passion for Africa was born. She was a panel judge at the Art Fair in Nairobi and completed art-related business development projects in East Africa. She is fortunate to have been able to combine her two great passions, art and Africa, and works to promote the arts from the continent and the brand of Strauss abroad. Some highlight of Kate’s career with Strauss include the auction of Pierneef’s Farm Jonkershoek with Twin Peaks Beyond, Stellenbosch for over r20 million / GBP1 million which highlighted a dialogue between South Africa and Europe through the artists travels, something that Kate is keen to explore. Secondly, the sale of Williams Kentridge’s 2 set design for the band Mango Groove’s Another Country, which sold for r5 million / GBP250,000 approx., was an equally profound experience.
Kate is co-founder of SAFFCA.eu, Southern African Foundation for Contemporary Art, an artist residency program based in Brussels which hosts a joint residency program for African-based artists to work in parallel with European-based artists in cultural exchange.
Kate is fluent in English and French and is currently based in Brussels, with her husband and two young daughters. Beyond promoting the arts of Africa, Kate is equally interested in exposing children to art and has championed the family brunch viewings and children’s art tours at Strauss and SAFFCA.