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Strauss & Co creates a meeting of great minds at the RMB Turbine Art Fair

  10 July 2019     Archived

Strauss & Co is pleased to announce its participation in the seventh annual RMB Turbine Art Fair (RMB TAF), with a curated exhibition devoted to influential painters Louis Khehla Maqhubela and Douglas Portway. The exhibition, which is titled A Meeting of Minds, is the cornerstone of Strauss & Co’s contribution to the 2019 RMB TAF at its new location at 10 Fricker Road, Illovo.

Frank Kilbourn, Strauss & Co’s chairman, explains the significance of the exhibition and pairing of artists: “Louis Maqhubela and Douglas Portway met for the first time in St Ives, Cornwall, in 1967, after Maqhubela won the prestigious Artists of Fame and Promise award at the Adler Fielding Gallery in Johannesburg, which included the prize of a trip to Europe. It was a meeting of great minds: they were artistic kindred spirits in the true sense of the term. The meeting impacted both artists’ thinking and the manner in which they painted subsequently.”


Organised by Strauss & Co senior art specialist Wilhelm van Rensburg, A Meeting of Minds examines the intersection of Maqhubela and Portway’s work. Composed of works drawn from various private and corporate collections, as well as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Wits Art Museum and Pretoria Art Museum, the exhibition offers viewers insights into their training and early influences, and how their styles developed after they met.


In a catalogue supporting the exhibition, art historian and curator Marilyn Martin writes: “Passing over a chance to meet Francis Bacon, Maqhubela went to St Ives in Cornwall instead. In Portway he found not only a mature and exceptional painter, but also a kindred spirit, someone in search of creativity and expression beyond observed reality, someone who explored the spiritual and metaphysical realms of making art.”


A Meeting of Minds is the third exhibition curated by Van Rensburg for Strauss & Co at RMB TAF, and follows on his two well-received exhibitions focusing on J.H. Pierneef’s woodblock prints (2017) and Irma Stern’s floral still lifes (2018).


“It is imperative that we keep providing reference to historical artists within the contemporary context of an art fair,” says Susie Goodman, a director at Strauss & Co. “Over the past seven years of our participation, the Turbine Art Fair has become an important event on our calendar. It is an opportunity for educational outreach, and also allows us to engage with potential clients in the lively context of a fair, where interest is always concentrated.”


In addition to its curated exhibition, A Meeting of Minds, Strauss & Co will showcase a selection of work produced by 24 students from the Artist Proof Studio (APS) in the Viewing Room at RMB TAF. These works on paper were made in response to an education programme around Maqhubela and Portway run by Strauss & Co staff at APS in Newtown, Johannesburg.


Visitors to the fair will also be able to view some of the works currently available through Strauss & Co’s online platform. The current online sale, which ends on Monday 15 July at 8pm, includes works by Maqhubela (Abstract with Village and Bird, 1972, estimate R18 000 – 24 0000) and Portway (Nude, 1984, estimate R30 000 – 50 000), as well as notable pieces by Robert Hodgins, David Koloane and Diane Victor.


Strauss & Co’s exhibition A Meeting of Minds at the 2019 RMB TAF also coincides with the exhibition Peter Haden: Almost Forgotten at the company’s newly expanded Houghton offices. This historical exhibition highlights the achievements of Peter Haden, a dynamic figure in 1960s Johannesburg art world, and features a number of bronzes from his golden period (1968–71), when he was associated with dealer Egon Guenther.


Strauss & Co at RMB TAF:

The exhibition A Meeting of Minds will be on view at RMB TAF from 12 to 14 July (Friday to Sunday), at 10 Fricker Road, Illovo, Johannesburg.

There is a VIP preview of the fair and exhibition on Thursday, 11 July starting at 6pm. Tickets are available online from RMB TAF.

2019 Press Archive

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