Press Office

Four South African Still Lifes sell for R22 million

  25 May 2010     Archived

Johannesburg: Strauss & Co, South Africa's leading fine art auctioneers, set a new world record for a still life by a South African artist, improving on their own record set last March. (R7 241 000 for Irma Stern's, Magnolias in an Earthenware Pot ). Irma Stern's Still Life with Gladioli and Fruit sold for R7 575 million in Johannesburg last night. This is also a record for a still life by Stern.

Women dominated the day. Three further Sterns, each selling for between R3.9 million and R6.1 million, brought the total for the Sterns alone close on R22 million. Works by the previously underrated Maud Sumner performed exceptionally well with almost R1,5 million achieved for a Scottish landscape and R445 000 for the Thames at Sunset. The Journey of the Magi III by the much-admired contemporary artist Deborah Bell, realised R178 000.

Other successes of the evening were the impressive R2,9 million achieved for Alexis Preller’s Gauguinesque The Flower King. The close to R2 million realised for a significant carved wood panel by Cecil Skotnes, confirms his stature as a major South African artist.

The sale totalled R40,4 million, reaffirming Strauss & Co’s undisputed position as market leaders. With two more auctions still to go, Strauss & Co’s turnover is already close on R80 million and is well set to exceed last year’s figure by some considerable measure.

Stephan Welz, Managing Director of Strauss & Co and its Auctioneer commented after the sale, “results like these prove that even during an economic slump, top quality works fresh to the market which are handled with the best expertise and marketing, always sell well.



Irma Stern (lot 256)
Still Life with Gladioli and Fruit
signed and dated 1934, oil on canvas, 85 by 85cm
R4 000 000 – 5 000 000,
SOLD FOR R7 575 200

(improving on Strauss & Co’s previous record)

Irma Stern (lot 263)
Still Life with Magnolias and Pumpkins
signed, oil on canvas, 67,5 by 71,5cm
R2 000 000 – 3 000 000, SOLD FOR R6 127 000

Irma Stern (lot 246)
A Still Life of Dahlias and Fruit
signed and dated 1960, oil on canvas, 100 by 92,5cm
R4 000 000 – 6 000 000, SOLD FOR R4 233 200

Irma Stern (lot 251)
Still Life with Proteas in a Jar
signed and dated 1946/55, oil on canvas, 95 by 67cm
R3 500 000 – 5 000 000, SOLD FOR R3 899 000

Alexis Preller (lot 273)
The Flower King
signed and dated ’70, oil on canvas, 69,5 by 59,5cm
R800 000 – 1 200 000, SOLD FOR R2 896 400

Cecil Skotnes (lot 278)
African Figures
signed and dated 65, carved, incised and painted wood panel, 85 by 225cm
R700 000 – 1 000 000, SOLD FOR R2 005 200
(improving on Strauss & Co’s previous record)

Maud Sumner (lot 208)
Paysage Ecossais
signed, signed and inscribed with the title on the reverse
Oil On canvas, 80 by 115cm
R500 000 – 800 000, SOLD FOR R1, 448 200

 J H Pierneef (lot 211)
signed and dated 49
Oil on board, 49,5 by 64,5cm
R700 000 – 1 000 000, SOLD FOR R779 800

Cecil Skotnes (lot 282)
African Head
Signed, incised and painted wood panel, 122 by 121cm
R600 000 – 800 000, SOLD FOR R668 400

Cecil Skotnes (lot 279)
Three Figures
Carved, incised and painted wood panel, 121 by 120,5cm
R500 000 – 700 000, SOLD FOR 501 300