27 May 2019
Strauss & Co, South Africa’s premier art auction house, is pleased to announce Saturday Live, the first-ever live auction to be held at the company’s newly expanded premises in Houghton, Johannesburg. The first in the new series of sales takes place on Saturday 8 June at 11.00 am, and offers collectors access to a curated catalogue of mid-range artworks by established artists, including Esther Mahlangu, Sam Nhlengethwa, Deborah Bell, Peter Clarke and William Kentridge.
Susie Goodman, executive director at Strauss & Co, Johannesburg, says that “Saturday Live is part of our strategic plan to diversify our sales programme to better serve the needs of collectors. It fills an important niche between our five premium live sales and eight online auctions. Buyers and sellers will benefit from far longer previews in a gallery setting, which translates into more attention and focus on the works for sale. Saturday Live will be especially attractive to emerging collectors who want to experience the energy of a live sale, and to seasoned collectors looking to augment their holdings with singular pieces in more affordable price ranges”.
Every sale will feature a pocket-sized catalogue summarising works on offer. The line-up for the inaugural Saturday Live auction includes a number of stalwarts, among them Walter Battiss, Conrad Botes, Esias Bosch, Robert Hodgins, Walter Meyer, Ephraim Ngatane, Nelson Makamo, Alexis Preller, Maud Sumner, and Shany van den Berg. South African artists from all the key time periods are represented alongside select international art.
Value is the key proposition informing Saturday Live. Most of the lots on offer carry persuasive estimates, typically below R50 000. A selection of linocuts by J.H. Pierneef, fine examples of collectable works on paper, have estimates between R15 000 and 20 000 and Winston Saoli’s ink and conté work Untitled (Reading the Paper on Blue), is expected to sell for between R12 000 and 18 000. A large wood and animal-hide drum by internationally exhibited sculptor Samson Mudzunga carries pre-sale estimates of R20 000 to 30 000, as do two exceptional works by Sipho Ndlovu, Clarence and Waterhole, painted in 2017. Smaller genre paintings by twentieth century artists like Gregoire Boonzaier, Errol Boyley, Tinus de Jongh, Terence McCaw, Frans Oerder and J.E.A. Volschenk feature strongly in the line-up.
As is a hallmark of every Strauss & Co sale, the forthcoming auction includes treasures and rarities. The Gourmet (estimates R300 000 to 500 000) by Zimbabwean-born painter Keith Alexander, who died at the untimely age of 52, is a lavish table setting that incorporates a portrait of legendary chef Jorn Pless, whose Ma Cuisine restaurant in Parktown North was a pilgrimage site for Johannesburg gourmets in the 1980s.
The top lot by value is a mixed-media work on paper by William Kentridge, Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins. These three prominent artists began collaborating in 1991, and two years later created Hotel (Telephone and Man in Hotel Room, Drawing for Animation), which carries an estimate of R1 to 1.2 million. These collaborative works are highly sought after by collectors; with the Delaire Graff Art Collection in Stellenbosch owning a later work, Six Characters (2009), by the threesome.
Another apex work is the glowing large abstract composition by Sam Nhlengethwa from 1995, Senegal I, in at estimates of R150 000 to 200 000, reflecting the growing demand for work from this important contemporary artist’s transitionary period.
An important new addition to the South African art auction calendar, the first Saturday Live will coincide with another trailblazing initiative by Strauss & Co, the company’s first Fine Wine auction, happening on the same day, at 3.00 pm. This is a joint venture with online wine merchant Wine Cellar and top sommelier Higgo Jacobs.