Strauss & Co Cape Town Auction


Look out for Strauss & Co’s eye-catching auction catalogue with its amusing cover, Bad Man with Great Threads (R700 000 – 900 000) by Robert Hodgins. Suited for success, this scoundrel, given a mischievous makeover by Hodgins and situated in the arena of high art – American Abstract Expressionism – is a winner.

According to Senior Art Specialist, Emma Bedford, the Strauss & Co catalogue provides a cornucopia of the best in South African art, from a rare casein by JH Pierneef to an early tapestry by Athi-Patra Ruga, all of which are coming up at Strauss & Co’s 14 March 2016 auction at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands.

Headlining the international art is a unique drawing by Marc Chagall demonstrating once again this company’s global reach. Chagall’s Pour Gustave Zumsteg (R1 100 000 – 1 300 000) is dedicated to the proprietor of Kronenhalle, a legendary Swiss restaurant frequented by artists and luminaries of the beau monde such as Sophia Loren, Yves Saint Laurent and Rudolf Nureyev. The lot is accompanied by a commemorative book on Kronenhalle.

Maggie Laubser’s Birds and Boats (R700 000 – 900 000), an excellent example of her work, has a wonderful provenance, having been acquired directly from the artist by a close friend, whose family had lived for generations on the Lanzerac farm. Two glorious Hugo Naudé spring landscapes, awash with light and colour, were once owned respectively by a leading educator and a former sports star who played international rugby and led his cricket teams to victory.

Red Rock (R600 000 – 900 000), one of the most striking paintings by Walter Battiss ever to come to auction, draws on the artist’s studies of rock art that were to play such a major role in the development of his unique style. His research culminated in the publication in 1948 of The artists of the rocks.

In the remarkable life-size Sleeper Red (R800 000 – 1 200 000) William Kentridge pushes printmaking to the limits by using his own thumb and handprints to build up the textures of flesh. Younger artists like Ian Grose, Zander Blom, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt and Bridget Baker make a good showing and are expected to draw keen bidding.

The sale also features a broad selection of good quality decorative arts, furniture and jewellery; including four single owner collections. The first collection consists of nine pieces of historic Cape furniture which formerly belonged to Randlord Sir Lionel and Lady Phillips of Vergelegen and thereafter to Punch and Cynthia Barlow, who purchased Vergelegen in 1943 from Lady Phillips’ estate. Some were purchased in June 1941 when the contents of Vergelegen were auctioned. A significant piece is the 18th century Cape stinkwood, satinwood and silver-mounted armoire, which is estimated at R600 000 – 800 000. Strauss & Co holds the auction record for Cape furniture, an 18th century Cape coromandel side cupboard that sold for over a million rand in 2009. It is hoped that this armoire will achieve a similar result.

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