6 March 2015 Archived
Some of the very best in South African and international art is on offer at Strauss & Co's upcoming auction on 16 March in Cape Town. These include key contemporary works by globally recognised artists such as Berlinde De Bruyckere, Nam June Paik, Huang Gang, Yayoi Kusama, William Kentridge and Penny Siopis.
“One of the shortcomings of the South African art market” says Stephan Welz, MD of Strauss & Co, “has been the absence of a lively, well presented, and most importantly a respected secondary market in contemporary art. I believe at Strauss & Co we are able to fill this gap admirably and with this auction will set new standards.”
De Bruyckere was the solo artist in the Belgian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, curated by J M Coetzee. That so illustrious an author – recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature and twice winner of the Booker Prize – accepted her invitation confirms the high regard in which she is held. Schmerzensmann III (R2 500 000 – 3 500 000), with its fragile body draped over an iron column, is a powerful reflection on humanity, evoking images of war – particularly of World War I fought largely on Belgian soil – as much as of recent atrocities.
Nam June Paik, who associated with Joseph Beuys and John Cage and participated in the Neo-Dada movement, Fluxus, of which Yoko Ono was also a member, is widely considered to be the founder of video art. Paik envisioned his explorations of technology as part of an ‘electronic superhighway’ – a term he coined – that would liberate artists to explore new media. His Internet Dweller: mpbdcg.ten.sspv (R800 000 – 1 200 000), produced in 1994, conceived as an imaginary being that lives on the internet, displays both the artist’s visionary foresight in fusing art and technology and his unique sense of humour.
“For South African collectors seeking to expand their collections beyond local borders, works of this calibre are particularly appealing” says Emma Bedford, Senior Specialist at Strauss & Co and former Curator of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture at the South African National Gallery. Bedford points out that the auction also features cutting-edge works by some of South Africa’s most exciting younger artists like Zander Blom, Hasan and Husain Essop, Georgina Gratrix, Michael MacGarry, Cameron Platter and Michael Taylor.
The expertise of its art specialists is acknowledged by collectors who have consigned top quality works to this auction. Amongst the works by leading South African artists, Vladimir Tretchikoff’s sensational Zulu Maiden tops the list at R1 900 000 – 2 200 000. A rare early portrait of his son, Joseph, by Wolf Kibel (R1 500 000 – 2 000 000), Alexis Preller’s Mapogga Wedding (R800 000 – 1 200 000) and two impressive paintings by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, The Maluti Mountains (R1 000 000 – 1 200 000) and a casein, Storm Clouds and Trees (R350 000 – 500 000) are all major works. Robert Hodgins in J’accuse (R700 000 – 1 000 000) provides a brilliant dissection of the notorious Dreyfus Affair. Medley by Walter Battiss at R700 000 – 900 000 should excite the kind of bidding that saw Medley No I sold for R1 250 480 on Strauss’s Johannesburg auction in June 2014.
Ed Young’s Arch (R450 000 – 550 000) is set to fly. As the first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, well known for his steadfast and unapologetic public voice, is also celebrated for his good humour. Young’s Arch , without equal locally for its freewheeling interpretation of a prominent public figure, is a mischievous anti-hero, an endearing Peter Pan of politics. Along with Berlinde De Bruyckere’s Schmerzensmann III, this is currently on view in the foyer of the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands.
Strauss & Co’s long-standing auction experience and the expertise of its art specialists ensure continuing impressive results as in the following auction records achieved thus far for contemporary art:
Jane Alexander, Untitled, R5 456 640, in 2013
Wim Botha, Scapegoat, R966 280, in 2014
Robert Hodgins, The Golden Wall, R1 818 880, in 2014
Nandipha Mntambo, Europa, R113 680, in 2014
Penny Siopis, Imaging, R668 400, in 2013
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