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Strauss & Co. presents a bigger all embracing auction of South African Art

  15 August 2009     Archived

Spring Auction in Johannesburg, Monday 7 September 2009, Important British, Continental and South African Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture, Country Club, Johannesburg, Woodmead

The second auction this year by South Africa’s leading auction house, Strauss & Co. includes such early stalwarts of the 20th century from William Methven, Hugo Naude’, Frans Oerder, Jan Volskenk and Anton Van Wouw to contemporary South African artists including Deborah Bell, Norman Catherine, Keith Deitrich and Peter Schütz. and if this were not enough three cartoons by Zapiro. Stephan Welz, Managing Director of Strauss & Co. feels strongly that cartoonists too are artists. Strauss & Co saw it fit to publish two catalogues for this 365 lot auction, with an afternoon session and an evening session for the important works. Likely to attract the most attention among collectors is the large number of paintings by the Everard Group and the broad span of sculpture by the nonagenarian Edoardo Villa (see separate press release).

Probably the work that most personifies an artist’s style and period is the Maggie Laubsher Compostion with Head, Foliage and Huts which is also featured on the front cover of the main catalogue of the sale (lot 74, estimate R700 000 – 900 000). This stylised portrait is particularly powerful and was executed when the artist was at the height of her career. Although it leans heavily on her continental training, it has a very definite identity of her own and also of being South African.

Other works which are of high standing include Frans Oerders Hydrangeas in a Bowl (lot 10, estimate R250 000 – 350 000), an important Kitchen Interior with a Red Carpet by Frieda Lock (lot 15, estimate R500 000 – 700 000), an early view of Cape Town Harbour by Gregoire Boonzaier (lot 25, estimate R150 000 – 200 000), Gwelo Goodman’s View of The Bay of Natal from Berea (lot 39, estimate R200 000 – 300 000), Horse and Rider by Gerard Sekoto (lot 42, estimate R200 000- 300 000), a rare Namibian landscape by Adolph Jentsch (lot 44, estimate R400 000 – 700 000), a Lucas Sithole bronze of a Mother and Child (lot 62, estimate 62 R300 000 – 500 000), Alexis Preller’s Primvera Profile (lot 66, R400 000 – 600 000) a work featured on his retrospective exhibition, a rare Italian cast of Anton van Wouw’s The Coffee Drinker (lot 68, estimate R120 000 – 160 000) and a large colourful Lucky Sibiya Tales from the Past made up of 47 individual panels (lot 96, estimate R160 000 – 200 000).

The earliest work on the auction, is a View of the Point Wharves, Durban Harbour, circa 1900 by Cathcart William Methven (lot 24, estimate R300 000 – 500 000). Methven has in recent time been increasingly respected as an artist of great merit and what makes this painting of particularly high quality is perhaps the fact that Methven served as Engineer in Chief for Natal Harbour Works in the late 19th Century and the harbour thus played an important part in his life. Another early work of importance which will be sold in part I of the sale is a particularly fine drawing by Frans Oerder of four men resting in a landscape. This work is rare as it dates from Oerder’s first period in South Africa (1890-1908) (lot 83, R50 000 – 80 000). Another work of unusual interest is Ruins of Foggia by Francois Krige (lot 76, estimate R60 000 – 90 000) which he would have executed while serving as South African war artist. Although it obviously relates to the war it nevertheless conveys the same pathos in the figures to be found in Krige’s later work. A first in the art auction world are three original cartoons by Zapiro (Jonathan Shapiro) relating to recent political events (part I, lots 13-15, estimate R10 000 – 12 000 respectively).

This is by far one of the biggest sales of South African art this year with a presale estimate of R23-33 million. According to Stephan Welz, although the sale does not include really high value works such as those sold by the company in their March sale (Irma Stern’s Magnolias in an Earthenware Pot, sold for R7 150 000 setting a world record for a still life by the artist, Old Oyster Woman by Dorothy Kay, sold for R1 400 000, a world record for the artist, and Jean Welz’s Still Life with Three Vessels and Checked Tablecloth, which sold for R1 210 000 also a world record for the artist), but nevertheless includes important works by highly respected artists often overshadowed by the current art market favourites. Also, so confident is the company in their expertise that they are the only fine art auction house in South Africa to guarantee everything they sell for a period of a year.

Country Club, Johannesburg, Woodmead
Corner Lincoln Road & Woodlands Drive, Woodmead, Johannesburg

On view:
Friday 4 September, Saturday 5 September and Sunday 6 September
10.00 am to 6.00 pm

Part I at 3.30pm
South African Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture
Lots 1-222
Part II at 8.00pm
Important British, Continental and South African Paintings and Sculpture
Lots 1-143


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