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Strauss & Co previews South African masterpieces in historical Stellenbosch home

  28 February 2019     Archived

Strauss & Co is pleased to announce a weeklong public showcase of important artworks from its forthcoming Cape Town sale at Morkel House in Stellenbosch. This extraordinary display in one of South Africa’s oldest buildings runs from 4 to 8 March and will include museum-quality works by Irma Stern and Alexis Preller.

Stern is South Africa’s most prized painter at auction. The display at Morkel House, established in 1694 opposite the present Mother Church and now a national monument, includes three portraits from Stern’s acclaimed Zanzibar period – all of them from eminent private collections.


Offered from the Late Sol Munitz Collection, Stern’s The Mauve Sari (estimate R13-17 million) was painted in 1946 following the painter’s second visit to the sultanate in 1945. Commenting on this work, art historian Sandra Klopper praised its “daring juxtaposition of vibrant colours”.


Painted in 1945, Arab (estimate R12-16 million) is also from the Munitz Collection and one of only four such portraits by Stern known to exist. This regal portrait depicts a nobleman from the court of the ninth Sultan of Zanzibar.


Stern first visited Zanzibar in 1939. Meditation, Zanzibar (estimate R15-20 million) dates from this period and portrays a young veiled woman. Consigned from the Shill Collection, the portrait evidences Stern’s intrigue with the ascetic lifestyle of Zanzibar’s Muslim inhabitants.


Also from the Shill Collection, Alexis Preller’s Collected Images (Orchestration of Themes) (estimate R7-9 million) is a seminal work by this highly regarded artist. Painted in 1952 and illustrated on the cover of Esme Berman and Karel Nel’s 2009 monograph of the same name, Collected Images depicts a cabinet with 18 compartments and is a resonant catalogue of the artist’s key metaphors.


Originally a wine cellar before it was converted into a homestead, Morkel House is a fitting venue for Strauss & Co’s week in Stellenbosch. The exposed wood beams in the kitchen strike a natural dialogue with earthy tones and domestic subject matter of Cecil Skotnes’ Kitchen Still Life (estimate R450 000 – R600 000) and Erik Laubscher’s Still Life with Jug, Bowl and Fruit (estimate R600 000 – R800 000), also among the works on display.


Strauss & Co’s week in Stellenbosch includes a complementary education programme, with public lectures by company art experts Wilhelm van Rensburg (Tuesday, 5 March at 1pm) and Alastair Meredith (Wednesday, 6 March at 1pm).


Morkel House is located at 6 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch.
Strauss & Co’s March sale takes will take place on Monday 18 March at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town.


Visit for further information or call Gera on 072 697 3129.


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