Press Office

Pricey Prellers prevail

  24 October 2012     Archived

The timelessness of Alexis Prellers iconography has been unequivocally demonstrated through the prices in excess of two million rand achieved by Strauss & Co in 2010. To the delight of collectors of top quality South African art, a feast of Alexis Preller works are being offered at the companys forthcoming auction in Johannesburg which takes place on Monday 12 November 2012.

“We are fortunate to be offering three seminal works by Preller in November: Girl with Oriole, Grand Mapogga III and Anubis. Their inclusion in our sale is electrifying. That these works span the length of his career and show the chronological development of his visual iconography,” says the spokesperson for the Johannesburg office.

Commonly referred to as “South Africa’s Gauguin” Preller’s iconography in his compositions is unparalleled in its universal visual language and unique African identity. Girl with Oriole is steeped in cultural reference: the beadwork seen draped on her shoulder is a nod to Pedi and Ntwana wares, the background textiles evocative of Swazi cloth, and the sitters pose harks to Florentine Quattrocento painting.

Grand Mapogga III is a highly significant work. Throughout his career, Preller revisited this subject numerous times –eccentrically believing that there should be three versions of any major work. This example, the third of the second trinity of works engaging this theme, was purchased by the current owner’s father at the 1957 exhibition held at Vorster’s Gallery in Pretoria – where all three versions of this painting were on show.

Anubis is a densely worked composition featuring rows of hieroglyphic forms running vertically throughout the canvas. Central to this composition is the figure of Anubis, the jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion. The dark ground is punctuated by glints of gold and splashes of vermillion and sapphire tones, a rich composition and palette, true to the mythological subject it depicts.

The auction is scheduled to take place on 12 November 2012 at the Johannesburg Country Club, Woodmead.


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Bina Genovese / 083 680 9944



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