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By Citizen Reporter

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Myths, legends and deities art auction

The artworks are notable for their use of bold gesture and mythical figures.


Art has long served as a vessel for articulating myths and developing narratives around important figures in various cultures throughout history.

Strauss & Co’s April online-only auction of modern and contemporary art engages with a few examples of this cultural practice, with a new themed focus on Myths, Legends, Deities.

Now open for bidding, the online-only sale encompasses four curated sessions: Art Club, Impression/Expression, Re/ View and this month’s themed session, Myths, Legends, Deities. The sale closes at one-minute intervals from 2pm on Monday, 15 April.

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Mythical figures, contemporary legends

Mythical figures, contemporary legends Composed of close to 40 artworks, Myths, Legends and Deities is highlighted by three large oil paintings from contemporary painter Sarah Ballam.

Marked not only by their scale and vivid use of colour, Persephone (estimated at R60 000 – R80 000), Boudica (estimate R70 000 – R90 000) and Marta (estimate d atR40 000 – R60 000) are notable for their use of bold, emphatic gesture and their unique representation of mythical figures.

Arisha Maharaj, art specialist at Strauss & Co, said: “It’s the first time we’re doing this theme and it’s a really fun one that brings together a curated selection of some very interesting and also highly valuable works.

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Auction lots

Sarah Ballam’s works will be exhibited in our Johannesburg space alongside a selection of other works from the sale, and it’s worth coming through to see them in person.”

Other notable lots in the sale are William Kentridge’s Triumphs & Laments (estimated at R5 000 – R7 000), a hardcover book that includes a print; a signature work by Diane Victor, Trojan III (estimated at R8 000 – R12 000); and works from Walter Battiss’ mythical Fook Island body of work, Island God (estimated at R10 000 – R15 000) and some of his custom-made currency Fook Banknotes (estimated at R3 000 – R5 000).

Wopko Jensma’s Six-armed man (estimated at R4 000 – R6 000) and Mythical Figure (estimated at R6 000 – R8 000), and a colour woodcut by Cecil Skotnes from his well-known The Assassination of Shaka series. Sculpture is well-represented by Mashego Johannes Segogela’s series of works depicting small devils (estimated at R30 000 – R50 000).

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Andrew Verster’s Untitled (estimated at R60 000 – R90 000) holds representations of Hindu gods, made during his time in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, spent visiting its various Hindu temples.

“In line with the idea of legends, there’s also a beautiful work by Sam Nhlengethwa – his Tribute to Miriam Makeba (estimated at R15 000 – R20 000) – which frames her as a musical legend in the industry, which is a great addition to this themed session,” explains Maharaj.

Highlights and market favourites

Art/Club highlights include a standout landscape by Walter Meyer, who recently sold extremely well in Strauss & Co’s March live sale, with a landscape selling well over the high estimate and achieving a world record for a still-life.

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Titled Sometimes (estimated at R25 000 – R35 000), Meyer’s work depicts a striking African landscape at sunset. Kentridge’s set of Illy cappuccino cups (estimate R25 000 – R35 000) is another lot worth watching, as is collector favourite Ruan Hoffmann’s playful ceramic plate The Beginning of the End (estimated at R8 000 – R12 000).

The sale’s top-value lot is Phillemon Hlungwani’s Dancing Girls (estimated at R120 000 – R160 000), a largescale figurative work in charcoal. Also worth noting is the strong representation of Johannesburg artists on the online sale, among them Norman Catherine, Deborah Bell, Walter Oltmann, Robert Hodgins, David Koloane, Jan Neethling, Claudette Schreuders and William Kentridge.

To register, browse, bid or buy please visit www.straussart.co.za.

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