Leading auction house Strauss & Co’s current online auction, featuring modern and contemporary art, opens today Monday, 6 March, with a special session dedicated to the theme “Celebrating Colour.”
Art Club are live events, held on the first Tuesday of every month, alternating between Strauss & Co’s Johannesburg and Cape Town salerooms. It forms part of Strauss & Co’s commitment to further education and in-person hospitality. During these sessions the auction house’s specialists will also give insights on how to handle your artwork correctly, art world trends and in the upcoming session, encourage guests to embrace their creativity.
“Curation is a major focus of our online auction programme for 2023, coupled with our newly established Art Club events. These events aim to inform and educate guests, new and seasoned art collectors, and prospective buyers about the secondary market and art appreciation in general” says Bina Genovese, Managing Executive at Strauss & Co. “During our Art Club events we aim to create a safe, creative, and stimulating environment for art enthusiasts to interact with our specialists and hone their fine art appreciation knowledge and skills. Our inaugural Art Club event, held in February at our Johannesburg showroom in Houghton was a great success,” she says. “It’s an opportunity for the public to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the secondary market, which may seem daunting to many. Education is a pillar at Strauss & Co and is key to building art appreciation.”
The March online sale of Modern and Contemporary Art commenced on Monday, 6 March, and encompasses three curated sessions – Art Club, Celebrating Colour, and Impression/Expression. Highlights from this sale include works by Walter Battiss, Paul Weinberg, Irma Stern, Dylan Lewis, Sue Williamson, Peter Clarke, Jackson Hlungwani, and ceramic art by artist Elizabeth Mbatha from the Rorke’s Drift school.
“The auction also has an exciting international flavour, with works from Salvador Dali, Dame Barbara Hepworth, and Karel Appel up for sale,” states Jean le Clus Theron, senior art specialist who curated the sale. The Art Club session kicks off with a photograph from Sue Williamson: Fluctuat Nec Mergitur, The Boat Will Not Sink, Paris (estimates R40 000 – 60 000.) “The art industry is expecting some interesting developments around Williamson’s work in 2023,” says le Clus Theron.
“Her first institutional show in the UK, ‘Between Memory and Forgetting’, opened last month at The Box Plymouth Museum in Britain and presents an extended overview of her work dating from 1981 until today”. Sculpture highlights from the session include a Salvador Dali bronze, Venus à la Giraffe, (estimates R 30 000 – 40 000) and a whimsical maquette from Lewis, Sitting Oriental Cat Maquette, (estimates R 40 000 – 60 000) which was modelled after the artist’s pet cat.
Celebration of Colour
“In recent years there has been a burgeoning trend towards maximalism in interior design. There is a growing appreciation for independent artists and original art, and a desire to inject personality into living spaces, creating a visually stimulating and eclectic space,” says le Clus Theron. “We’ve been seeing it for a while in the hospitality industry – hotels such as Ellerman House in Bantry Bay, Xigera Lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and the Royal Malewane Collection in the Lowveld all boast extensive art collections that enhance the properties’ singular and inimitable approach to style. With Strauss & Co’s specially curated online sessions, it is easier than ever for art lovers to access unique and affordable artwork. We encourage collectors to experiment with bold and colourful pieces in their homes.” She highlights Zimbabwean/South African artist Grace Cross’s The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world (estimates R 25 000 – 35 000) as one of the focal pieces in the Celebration of Colour session. “It’s a celebration of modern motherhood despite its colourful, fun palate, it shines the spotlight on the challenges working mothers must endure, if they really ‘do want to have it all.’”
The session also features two lithographs from Karel Appel’s The Sunshine People Series, that the Dutch artist created in the 1960s. Artworks from this series feature a recurring motif of large, abstract figures, often depicted against a bright background. Le Cheval and Abstract Face (estimates R 7 000 – 9 000) feature vivid, almost childlike colours. They exude a sense of joy and optimism that is characteristic of much of Appel’s work from this period.
Andrew Verster, Norman Catherine, Christo Coetzee, and Bettie Cilliers Barnard are some of the other stalwarts featured in the auction, with contemporary and emerging artists such as MJ Lourens, Katherine Spindler and Bambo Sibiya offering emerging collectors a foot in the door.
Select artworks from the online sale is on view at Strauss & Co’s Cape Town office at Brickfield Canvas – 2nd Floor, 35 Brickfield Road, Woodstock.