9 March 2009 Archived
The old adage that "a work of art sells best in its country of origin" was proved at the first auction of Important South African Paintings, Watercolours and Sculpture conducted by Strauss & Co in Johannesburg last night.
Although the company is new to the South African auction world, the expertise within the company is undoubtedly the best in South Africa. Much of the success of the sale can be attributed to the long standing relationship the directors and experts of Strauss & Co. have developed with collectors and dealers both in South Africa and abroad. Both dealers and collectors saw this sale as an important barometer of the state of the South African Art market.
The total of R38 million exceeded everyone’s expectations. The final result was the highest total yet for an auction of South African paintings in South Africa. The average figure per lot sold was nearly R270 000. The highest price paid was R7 150 000 for an Irma Stern Still Life Magnolias in an Earthenware Pot, the second highest price R5 720 000 also went to Irma Stern for her White Houses, Madeira, executed in 1931.
A satisfying feature of the sale was the number of artists previously overshadowed by Pierneef and Stern setting new records for their work. These included Anton van Wouw, Die Noitjie van die Onderveld, which sold for R935 000, Freida Lock’s Interior with a Black Striped chair at R660 000, Frans Oerder’s Still life of Magnolias at R1,76 million, Jean Welz’s Still life with Three Vessels, R1,210 000, and Pieter Wenning’s Cottage, Nelspruit, which sold for R990 000, a record for this artist. One of the most satisfying results for art cognoscenti was the R1.4 million paid for Dorothy Kay’s Old Oyster Woman. This Irish born Eastern Cape artist, has until now largely gone unnoticed among the broader art public. Many regard this portrait as a high point in South African portraiture and the buying public recognised it as such.
Stephan Welz, Director and auctioneer of this newly formed company, who sold his old company some two years ago and which still trades under his name, expressed tremendous delight at resuming his career under a new guise at this time and continuing on his record breaking path.