Press Office

The Cape Town Art Fair - A celebration of South African Art

  26 February 2014     Archived

Strauss & Co, Cond Nast House & Garden and Delaire Graff Estate have joined forces to celebrate Cape Town's second annual Art Fair and show some of the most highly valued art that South Africa has produced, to date.

Their stand constitutes a sophisticated interior designed by Condé Nast House & Garden, and features the seminal paintings Two Arabs by Irma Stern and Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchikoff. As different as these two important portraits are, they both share the accolade of having topped the art auction market in recent years. "It is a great privilege for us to have this rare opportunity to exhibit paintings of such international renown and, in so doing, present the public the unique chance to see these rarely viewed, original works first hand", says Bina Genovese, Director of Strauss & Co.

Irma Stern's painting, Two Arabs, achieved an astonishing South African auction record when it was sold by Strauss & Co in 2011. It is amongst the most important Sterns to come onto the market in recent years and the most expensive painting ever sold at auction in South Africa. It has been kindly loaned to Strauss & Co by a private collector.

Said to be one of the most widely reproduced and instantly recognisable images in the world, Vladimir Tretchikoff's painting, Chinese Girl, was acquired in 2013 by collector Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds, who had a lifelong fascination for the work. In November last year Chinese Girl was repatriated to South Africa, after spending 59 years out of the country, and was unveiled at Delaire Graff Estate by Stephan Welz, Managing Director of Strauss & Co, with the assistance of the model depicted in the painting, Monika Pon-su-san. Chinese Girl is on display at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch and has been kindly loaned for the Cape Town Art Fair.

To be exhibited in conjunction with these two captivating portraits are Dakar Woman and Arab Man, Dakar, both by Irma Stern. These exceptional works, executed in 1938, will be included in Strauss & Co's upcoming auction which takes place at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town on 17 March 2014. "One can imagine the impact that Dakar, with its heady mix of African and French cultures, would have had on Stern during her first sojourn there in 1938," states Emma Bedford, Senior Art Specialist at Strauss & Co. These works are testimony to Stern's extraordinary skill and mastery of different mediums - Dakar Woman, a lavishly executed oil painting, and Arab Man, Dakar, a powerful charcoal drawing.

Highlights of furniture and decorative arts from the Strauss & Co March auction include a pair of monumental Venetian blackamoors in the manner of Valentino Besarel , a handsome pair of Empire mahogany commodes, and a 17th/18th century Dutch cabinet from the Property of the RB Stuttaford Will Trust and the Estate Late Mrs DE Stuttaford-Burton. These exceptional pieces will further embellish the stand.

In the context of this stand and as part of the series of lectures offered at the Cape Town Art Fair, Ruarc Peffers, Senior Art Specialist, Strauss & Co, and Andrew Lamprecht, Senior Lecturer, Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT will engage in a dialogue entitled Irma Stern, Vladimir Tretchikoff and the Art Market: A Dialogue on Change and Difference. They will discuss recent changes in the art market and, in particular, examine the continuing interest and ever-increasing prices fetched for works by Irma Stern and the recent upsurge of interest, and value, in Vladimir Tretchikoff’s work. What do these two roughly contemporaneous yet highly diverse artists have in common, if anything at all? What shapes the market and popular interest in an artist and who dictates the shifts that occur in the art world?
(Friday 28 February from 5-6 pm, Imax Theatre, The Pavilion)

Please visit us at stand F17, The Cape Town Art Fair, The Pavilion, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront (Friday 28 February to Sunday 2 March 2014, 10am to 8pm daily, Sunday 2 March until 6pm).

Bina Genovese / 083 680 9944