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Works from two important collections feature on Strauss & Co’s April online sale

  1 April 2019     Archived

Enthusiastic bidding is expected at the upcoming Strauss & Co Online-Only auction in the wake of the recent Cape Town sale’s record-breaking tally of R106-million

Opening on 1 April, the five-session sale of South African and international art, decorative arts and jewellery includes items from the Late Sol Munitz and the Late Dr J.R. and Mary Strong collections, giving buyers another opportunity to bid on two of the most notable collections to have come onto the secondary market in recent times. Works from these collections attracted robust bidding from local and international buyers during Strauss & Co’s live sale in March.


Sol Munitz’s collection spans an important period of South African art history. A friend of Irma Stern, he often acquired works directly from the artist including Arab, which sold for R20 484 000 in March. The online sale features over thirty South African paintings from the Munitz Collection, as well as 20th century collectables such as a 1930s Art Deco cold-painted figure of a maiden (after Josef Adolph, estimate R4 000 – 6 000), and a 20th century Charles Schneider cognac-coloured glass vase (estimate R4 000 – 6 000).


The Strong Collection showcases the diverse collecting interests of this English-born medical doctor and politician who arrived in Rhodesia in 1938. The online consignment includes English silverware, from the period of Charles II and Georgian and Victorian eras, as well as continental silver and porcelain. Standout items include a Charles II two-handled silver porringer (RS, London, 1664, estimate R15 000 – 20 000) and pair of George II silver salvers (WI, possibly William Justis, London, 1756, estimate R9 000 – 12 000).


Strauss & Co is committed to offering superior quality lots, and the selection of jewellery for the April online-only sale is no exception. Among the 85 lots expected to stimulate lively bidding are Georgian mourning rings and Victorian brooches. The sale includes a large array of desirable earrings, including a pair of emerald, diamond and gold earrings (estimate R12 000 – 16 000).


Enthusiastic bidding is anticipated for the impressive selection of contemporary art. Highlights include Willem Boshoff’s Intercourse (estimate R5 000 – 7 000), a work that reflects his unique way of combining art and language. Another sought after artist is Robert Hodgins, whose mixed media Pretty Boy Floyd (estimate R18 000 – 24 000) features a news photograph of the famous 1930s Chicago gangster as a stencil, overworked with spray paint and oil paint.


Strauss & Co’s last online sale revealed a growing appetite among collectors for lesser-known artists. They include Wilfred Delporte, a sculptor and painter who emerged from the Polly Street Art Centre in the 1960s, and Wopko Jensma (Beast II, colour woodcut, estimate R4 000 – 6 000), whose poetry anthologies were banned by the apartheid government of the 1970s. Delporte’s welded steel sculpture Bird I (estimate R30 000 – 50 000) is from the same series as Flight Form, which is reproduced in Esmé Berman’s book, Art and Artists of South Africa.


Other notable lots include Eugene Labuschagne’s pencil sketches (estimate R2 000 – R4 000).  A student of Walter Battiss, the sketches reveal the artist’s rebellious streak and his grappling with two- and three-dimensional renderings. A remarkable documentation of Georgie Papageorge’s land art practise is captured in Installation of the Southern Cross, Makgadikgadi (estimate R8 000 – R12 000), while a reference to the colourful work of Art Deco ceramicist Clarice Cliff is evident in expert printmaker and art historian Elza Miles’ colour woodcut, Clarice en W Beker (estimate R4 000 – 6 000).


Collectors seeking to add an important South African artist to their collections have an opportunity to bid on a work by Mmakgabo Mmapula Helen Sebidi, one of South Africa’s most important living painters. Ndebele Girls, from the Well, near Witbank, Tvl (estimate R20 000 – 30 000) is an evocative and highly covetable work. Batlhaping Ba Re!, a solo exhibition at the Norval Foundation in Cape Town, recently covered five decades of Sebidi’s work.


Strauss & Co is a pioneer of online art sales in South Africa. Since launching its inaugural online sale in 2013, its online sale’s platform has played an important role in supporting new and emerging buyers. The most-recent February online sale saw Strauss & Co achieve exceptional results: Nelson Makamo’s Girl with Green Glasses sold for R199 325, nearly four times its presale estimate. With many of the lots exceeding their presale estimates, there is a growing appetite and confidence of global collectors bidding in the online space.


Strauss & Co’s online platform provides a comprehensive set of tools to help bidders make their choices, including images, lot details and condition reports. From the moment the online sale opens, potential bidders can click the ‘Register to Bid’ link on the Strauss & Co website and complete the short online form. Existing Strauss & Co clients are required to register anew for each online auction to receive a bidding number.


The current online auction can be browsed by lot, department or artist, with a filter option allowing clients to also search for items based on price or keywords. Clicking on ‘Submit your Bid’ brings up the bidding popup window, which features a ‘Submit’ button that allows clients to accept the next bid value. Up to the last hour of the auction, clients with an active bid receive an email and an SMS if they are outbid on a lot. Successful buyers receive an email after the sale has closed, detailing purchased lots and check-out procedures.


Strauss & Co’s April online-only auction closes on 8 April.



Strauss & Co is currently sourcing consignments of 19th Century, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art for the May Live auction in JohannesburgEntries close at the end of March.


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