Strauss & Co staff share favourites at online auction

Looking for beautiful artwork to adorn your walls or unsure of what artist to purchase? The art specialists and staff at Strauss & Co share their favourite lots in the current online-only auction.

Landscape in Blue and Green by Hermine Spies Coleman (Lot 4)
signed and dated 81
acrylic on canvas
R 6 000 – 8 000
When Spies Coleman creates, she leaps into the unknown.  
“When you make art, you connect with an intuitive direction to find meaning in life. Shapes materialise from visual stimuli, past drawings as well as from memory, often intertwining, metamorphosing into something new; something not cognitively planned,” she explains.
Her abstract work, Landscape in Blue and Green is a large-scale semi-figurative painting, executed in soft, muted hues of blue, mint and lavender. “The pink, purple and green colours remind me of abstract expressionist American women artists like Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell and Grace Hartigan,” says Wilhelm van Rensburg, Senior Art Specialist and Head Curator.
Abstract Composition in White by Zander Blom (Lot 6)
oil on canvas

R 35 000 – 50 000


“Abstraction is one of the most difficult styles and techniques to master – the artist has to manipulate line, colour, form and texture to capture and engage the viewer,” says Jean Le Clus, Senior Art Specialist. Zander Blom is one of South Africa’s abstract masters. His use of impasto brush strokes and gestural marks, combined with striking, pictorial structures on unprimed Belgian linen has been widely imitated, although seldom equalled.
“I take great pleasure in Blom’s rhythmic play on material and form and his abilities to create canvases that radiate with energy,” says Kirstie Pietersen, Cataloguer.
Le Clus mentions Blom as one of her favourite contemporary artists.  “He is known for his singular style, you can immediately spot a Blom.
Nude in the Sun by Robert Broadley (Lot 33)
oil on canvas laid down on board

ZAR 8 000 – 12 000


“The nude has always been a painter’s obsession. Some of history’s most impactful paintings depict the female nude. From Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Manet’s Olympia, to Modigliani’s Reclining Nude and Henri Matisse’s Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra),” says Mia Borman, Marketing Manager. A sensual jouissance scintillates from Broadley’s nude, which features a woman completely at ease with herself and her body.
“Broadley’s contemporary sunbathing nude brings me so much joy. It’s painted in the warm nostalgic colours of the 70s. I admire the model’s peaceful disposition; clearly comfortable in her skin and soaking in the summer light,” she says.
Milking the cow and Ploughing by Julius Mfethe
carved wood and leather
R40 000 – R60 000 and R 25 000 – 35 000

South African sculptor Julius Napaqu Mfethe used his formidable powers of observation to create small, delicate, smooth-surfaced, finely-detailed sculptures depicting the lives of the people and animals around him.
The wooden sculpture Ploughing is a pastoral scene with one man and two oxen ploughing the field while Milking the cow shows an intimate scene between a farmer, his cow and her calf.   Both sculptures exhibit Mfethe’s unique skill and attention to minuscule detail – from the delicate but sturdy woodwork on the plough, the intricate carvings on the men’s shoes, and the placid eye expressions of the cattle.  “I truly adore Julius Mfethe’s work,” says Susie Goodman, Managing Executive .“The skill he exhibits carving these detailed but powerful evocative works out of local wood from the Transkei is simply astounding.”
Kappertjies in Gryspot (Nasturtiums), Conrad Theys (lot 9)
oil on canvas

R 25 000 – 35 000

Theys’ paintings feature in several private and public collections – such as the SABC, National Art Museum, and Rand Merchant Bank. Mentored by Gregoire Boonzaier, his work displays the same bold cloisonné-like line work and the elegance of the Jugendstil movement, favoured by his mentor. Theys grew up in Namaqualand and is known for his quiver tree, and landscapes. When it came to floral still lives he was partial to nasturtiums as subject matter, often contrasting their bright oranges and yellow hues against the cobalt blue of Chinese ceramic vases. Nasturtiums represent love, loyalty, strength, and purity, all qualities Theys manages to portray with his bold use of flowing lines and vibrant colours.
“With the seasons changing floral paintings and artworks with flower subject matter is a huge source of pleasure. Nasturtiums are such lovely, quirky plants and I particularly like how Theys has portrayed them in this painting,” says Michelle Louise Comber, Cataloguer.
Wild card (lot 62 – Session 2)
Skull, Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo
mixed media

ZAR 60 000 – 90 000


The human skull has always fascinated artists, whether it was the ancient plastered Jericho Skull, dating from the Neolithic period, Aztecs and Hindu artists who adorned their gods with striking carvings of human craniums and more recently, Damian Hirsts’ controversial diamond encrusted skull “For the Love of God”.
The current auction also features several artworks with the human skull as subject matter, but Congolese artist Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo’s striking collage and mixed media artwork is a standout piece of the online auction.  The artwork consists of hundreds of tiny cut-outs of shoes that form a compound image, bringing to mind the style of American artists Chuck Close and collagist Robert Rauschenberg.
The auction is open for bidding and concludes on Monday 3 October 2022 with the first session of the staff highlights closing at 6pm and the second half of the auction closing at 8pm.
Visit view auction, register and bid.

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