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Powerful study of an Athleteby Fanie Eloff

  10 September 2009     Archived

In Strauss & Co's upcoming inaugural Cape Town auction which takes place on 8 October 2009, a powerful study of an athlete balancing on his hands by Fanie Eloff is featured.

“Fanie Eloff was the grandson of President Paul Kruger. Pierneef and Gerard Moerdyk were Fanie’s school-fellows at the old Staatsmodelskool in Pretoria. He spent the greater part of his creative life in Paris. He returned to South Africa in 1941 during World War II having decided to become a sculptor after seeing the work of Auguste Rodin.

After his death in 1947, all the sculptures he had left behind in his Paris studio were shipped back to South Africa and a large memorial exhibition was held in Pretoria under the auspices of the South African Academy for Arts and Science. Eloff wished to maintain the principle of art for art’s sake, of the sovereignty of the artist, and of homage due to all creative work. It is the artist’s studies of figures in motion, executed in bronze, which, above all others bear the unmistakable stamp of his individual style. His one big monumental statue is that of the Discus Thrower at the entrance to Loftus Versfeld Sports Grounds in Pretoria. All his figures are characterized by spontaneity of expression, and Eloff achieves a delightful significance of form in which the static quality of his medium is completely forgotten. The current owner recalls his father purchasing this piece in Pretoria in 1947 when he was a boy.

Lot 310
Stephanus Johannes Paulus
(Fanie) Eloff
Athlete Balancing on his Hands
signed, foundry mark C Valsuani Cire Perdue bronze, with dark green patina
height: 103cm
R80 000 – 100 000

Paintings specialist:
Ann Palmer (

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