Strauss & Co brings important pedigree works and fine wines to Cape Town

Cape Town Auction Week kicks off this Sunday offering collectable art spanning over a century, including works by Irma Stern, Nicholas Hlobo and William Kentridge.

By YourLuxury Africa

Irma Stern
Praying Arab
signed and dated 1945; signed on the reverse
oil on canvas in an orginal hand-carved Zanzibar wooden frame
63 by 55cm excluding frame; 80,5 by 67 by 6,5cm including frame
R 16 000 000 – 18 000 000

Africa’s leading art auction house Strauss & Co will present Irma Stern’s valuable portrait, Praying Arab (estimate R16 – 18 million/$840,00-950,000), from a prestigious private collection next week. Stern’s work is the highlight of Cape Town Auction Week taking place from 17 to 19 September 2023. This expertly curated series of sales will present fine wines and collectable modern and contemporary art by sought-after South African artists Nicholas Hlobo, William Kentridge, Maggie Laubser, J.H. Pierneef, Alexis Preller, Athi-Patra Ruga and Berni Searle. Artworks from collector Nedra Jooste, alongside contemporary pieces with museum pedigrees, will take centre stage at the highly anticipated spring auction.

Irma Stern
Portrait of a Woman
signed and dated 1927
charcoal on paper
46,5 by 34cm excluding frame; 70 by 57 by 2cm including frame
R 80 000 – 100 000

Praying Arab dates from Irma Stern’s second visit to the East African island of Zanzibar in 1945 and is a superb example of the stylistic attributes characteristic of her golden period,” says Bina Genovese, Managing Executive, Strauss & Co. “It is one of four high-value Stern works appearing in our marquee virtual-live sale. There are two gorgeous flower still-lifes from 1955 by Stern, one of them owned by the collector Nedra Jooste. We are also offering an endearing marine landscape with figures from 1933. Whatever the period Stern always commands attention. In March, Strauss & Co established an African record when we sold her 1939 painting Children Reading the Koran for R22.3 million/$1.17 million.”

Irma Stern
Red Dahlias
signed and dated 1955; inscribed with the artist’s name, date, the title and medium on Dennis Hotz Gallery and Pretoria Art Museum labels adhered to the reverse
oil on canvas
78,5 by 77,5cm excluding frame; 97 by 95,5 by 6,5cm including frame
R 4 000 000 – 6 000 000

Cape Town Auction Week commences on Sunday, 17 September with a dedicated wine sale. On Monday, 18 September, Strauss & Co will present a timed online sale of 54 artworks. This sale begins with a focus on Cape-themed paintings inspired by the exhibition Cape Moments/Kaapse Oomblikke, curated by Strauss & Co’s Frank Kilbourn and Wilhelm van Rensburg for August Art Month at Welgemeend. It features an impressive modernist catalogue of works by Peter Clarke, Johannes Meintjes, Nita Spilhaus and Maud Sumner.

The premier evening live virtual sale on Tuesday, 19 September starts with eight paintings from the estate of collector Nedra Jooste, of Cordoba wine estate on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain. The session features 85 works spanning over a century of artistic production in South Africa. There are important works by early pioneers J.H. Pierneef, Pieter Wenning and Anton van Wouw. Paintings feature strongly in the contemporary selection, with Keith Alexander, John Meyer and Neil Rodger represented alongside works by younger painters Zander Blom and Georgina Gratrix. The catalogue also includes works by trailblazers Nicholas Hlobo, Mohau Modisakeng, Athi-Patra Ruga and Berni Searle.

Zander Blom
Untitled 1.57
signed and dated 2011 on the reverse
oil on linen
198 by 150 by 3cm, unframed
R 300 000 – 500 000

“We have grouped the works in both our art sales by genre, not period,” says Jean le Clus-Theron, Head of Sale, Strauss & Co. “Our intention is to suggest continuities in art made in changing times. Both sales are supported by detailed e-catalogues that feature extensive notes and special artist focuses. Contemporary painter Ruby Swinney is highlighted in the timed online sale, and much-loved painters Walter Battiss, Peter Clarke and Robert Hodgins are similarly profiled in the virtual-live sale.”

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef
Baie Storms Weerstaan (Many Storms Withstood)
signed, inscribed with the title on a metal plaque and the artist’s name and medium on a Dennis Hotz Gallery label adhered to the reverse
oil on canvas laid down on board
29 by 29cm excluding frame; 64,5 by 64,5 by 4,5cm including frame
R 400 000 – 600 000

High-value modernist paintings on sale during Cape Town Auction Week include J.H. Pierneef’s Houtbos, Transvaal (estimate R700 000 – 1 million/$38 000 – 54 000) and Irma Stern’s Red Dahlias (estimate R4 – 6 million/$ 216 000 – 324 000), both from the Nedra Jooste Collection. Irma Stern’s Still Life with Flat Irons, Apples and Blossoms in a Jug from 1955 and Figures on a Beach from 1933 are expected to fetch R3.8 – 4.2 million/$205 000 – 226 000 (each).

There are five works by Alexis Preller in the live virtual sale. They include Preller’s late painting of a Florentine head (estimate R700 000 – 1 million/$38 000 – 54 000) and Abstract Composition, a jewel-like triptych from 1969 (estimate R400 000 – 500 000/$21 550 – 27 000). Norval Foundation in Cape Town will present an exhibition devoted to Preller opening at the end of November 2023.

William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx
World on its Hind Legs
signed, numbered 1/6, inscribed with the title and medium on an artist’s certificate of authenticity
painted stainless steel on a moveable steel base
height: 58,5cm excluding base, 62cm including base; width: 45cm; depth: 87cm; moveable steel base: 159 by 70 by 85cm
R 1 500 000 – 2 000 000

Two works by William Kentridge lead a strong contemporary catalogue. The painted steel sculpture World on its Hind Legs (estimate R1.5 – 2 million/$81 000 – 108 000) is the product of a 2010 collaboration between Kentridge and artist Gerhard Marx. The etching Sleeper and Ubu (estimate R600 000 – 800 000/$32 300 – 43 100) is an important work with editions held by numerous American museums. Other notable high-value works with impeccable international pedigree are Nicholas Hlobo’s 2015 ribbon painting Ityhengetyhenge (estimate R1 – 1.5 million/$54 000 – 81 000) and Berni Searle’s 1998 photo self-portraits from her Colour Me series (estimate R400 000 – 600 000/$21 550 – 32 300). (Another example from this edition can be seen at Norval Foundation, Cape Town, in the exhibition Having but little Gold: Berni Searle closing on 13 November 2023.)

Nicholas Hlobo
signed, dated 2015 and inscribed with the title on the reverse; inscribed with the artist’s name, the date and the title on a South African National Gallery label adhered to the reverse
ribbon and rubber on canvas
146 by 100cm excluding frame; 161 by 111 by 12,5cm including frame
R 1 000 000 – 1 500 000

Cape Town Auction Week will be preceded by an education and social programme from 11 to 16 September. Works in the sale will be available to view in a curated exhibition at Strauss & Co’s office at Brickfield Canvas, Woodstock, Cape Town.

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SOURCES: Images: Supplied
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