Love Local Sculpture

Strauss & Co’s C.100 Sculptures online auction is a tribute to South African sculptors.

By Matthew McClure

South Africa’s rich sculptural tradition developed over thousands of years and is a true reflection of the unique nature of our artists and their wide range of talents. John and Elizabeth Bradley celebrated this form of fine art by collecting a wide variety of sculptural work by celebrated South African artists and displaying it all over their home in Johannesburg, and the timed auction by Strauss & Co, titled C. 100 Sculptures, is partly a celebration of the Bradley’s passion for this ancient art.

C. 100 Sculptures is a timed, online auction containing 100 lots of Modern and Contemporary South African sculpture across various mediums that contains a selection of bronzes from John and Elizabeth Bradley’s collection. The couple’s collection spans almost 90 years and is a reflection of their love affair with this complex medium. They developed close personal relationships with many of the artists they collected, and acclaimed artist Elsa Dziomba completed a bust of Elizabeth’s mother as a sign of their bond. There are two works by Dziomba completed in wood that are part of this auction, in addition to figurative sculptures by contemporary artists such as Haroon Gunn-Salie and Norman Catherine that signifies the true breadth and depth of this historic body of work.

Acclaimed South African artist Deborah Bell’s imposing, statuesque bronzes from her Sentinel series are on our personal bidding list. Towering above the floor, these figures (I, VII, VIII and IX) from the Bradley collection are expected to fetch between R600,000 and R800,000 and we wouldn’t be surprised to see that estimate exceeded. Haroon Gunn-Salie’s hauntingly evocative Sunday Best, modelled after original District Six resident Susan Lewis, is also one of our favourites.

C. 100 Sculptures closes for bidding on Wednesday, 5 July.

Honouring Sydney Kumalo and Ezrom Legae

Continuing the theme of recognising the significance and global contribution of South African sculpture, Strauss & Co is also celebrating the publication of a new catalogue raisonne, 10 years in the making, that focuses on works by Sydney Kumalo and Ezrom Legae. Titled The Sculptures of Sydney Kumalo and Ezrom Legae, this beautiful volume is a labour of love by Gavin Watkins and Charles Skinner, who both recognised the lack of a comprehensive historical account of the known work of these two pivotal sculptors as a tragedy needing to be addressed. The publication of this important volume accompanies an exhibition of 92 works by Ezrom Legae and Sydney Kumalo, which runs at Strauss & Co in Johannesburg until 28 July.


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