Important Senegalese portrait by Irma Stern invigorates Strauss & Co’s figure-rich April sale

Strauss & Co is thrilled to announce details of its first live auction of 2022.

Strauss & Co is thrilled to announce details of its first live auction of 2022. This annual auction, an important event on the Cape Town art calendar, will be held over four consecutive days (3-6 April 2022) at Brickfield Canvas, a creative and tech campus in Woodstock. Auction highlights include four outstanding paintings by the highly collectable artist Irma Stern, a trove of excellent works by leading artists Maggie Laubser, Sydney Khumalo, George Pemba, Alexis Preller and Thania Peterson, as well as three single-owner collections of English and Asian decorative arts.

Maggie Laubser,
SOUTH AFRICAN, 1886-1973,
Portrait of a Woman wearing a Sari against a Floral Background
signed; inscribed with the artist’s name and ‘Indiese Vrou met Sari en Blomme’ on a Pretoria Art Museum label adhered to the reverse,
oil on artist’s board,
50 by 39,5cm,
R 800 000 – 1 200 000

The auction programme for this hybrid in-person and live-streamed auction will commence on Sunday, 3 April 2022 with a producer-focussed session hosted by Strauss & Co’s wine department. On Monday, 4 April 2022, the decorative arts department will host a morning session devoted to Asian art, and an afternoon session featuring properties from two important collections of chiefly historical English furniture. The live auction programme culminates with three sessions of modern, post-war and contemporary art, scheduled to go under the hammer on Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 and 6 April 2022.

William Kentridge, SOUTH AFRICAN 1955- Felix in Exile, 1994, signed and numbered 29/35 in pencil in the margin, etching, aquatint, drypoint and soft ground, 58 by 79cm excluding frame; 85,5 by 105,5 by 1cm including frame, R 400 000 – 600 000


“The presentation and format for this auction is based on innovations and enhancements introduced over the past two years,” says Bina Genovese, Strauss & Co’s joint managing director. “There is a strong curatorial approach to the presentation of lots throughout the sessions. Our aim is to provide collectors with context and insight into the fabulous lots we will be presenting for sale.”

Thania Petersen,
Remnants 4,
inscribed Ed 3/3 on the reverse,
photographic print on Hahnemühle paper,
223,5 by 149,5cm excluding frame; 227,5 by 153 by 6cm including frame,
R 70 000 – 90 000

As is now customary, the wine department will inaugurate Strauss & Co’s live auction with a session profiling a trio of prestigious producers from Hemel-en-Aarde (“Heaven and Earth”). This illustrious wine valley stretching inward from the coastal enclave of Hermanus is home to Crystallum Wines, Newton Johnson Vineyards and Storm Wines. Strauss & Co will focus on their chardonnay and pinot noir wines.

George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba,
SOUTH AFRICAN, 1912-2001,
In the Bus,
signed and dated 88,
oil on board,
48 by 65,5cm excluding frame; 53 by 71 by 3cm including frame,
R 300 000 – 500 000

A collection of 122 lots from China, Japan and South-East Asia assembled by a Cape Town collector of oriental art introduces the extensive decorative arts catalogue. Highlights from this private collection include a rare Chinese Yixing peach-form washer from the Kangxi period (est.  R10 000 – 15 000) and Japanese Imperial Satsuma koro from the Meiji period (est. R5 000 – 7 000).

Cyrus Kabiru,
KENYAN 1984- ,
Macho Nne 13 (White House Spider),
inscribed with the artist’s name, numbered ‘Edition AP 1’, date, title, medium and dimensions on a SMAC Gallery label adhered to the reverse,
pigment ink on HP premium satin photographic paper on diasec mount
image size: 146 by 116cm; 153 by 123 by 4,5cm including frame,
R 60 000 – 80 000

Following the successful sale of Chinese pieces from the property of a connoisseur in April 2021, Strauss & Co is honoured to present a further selection of furniture, ceramics and paintings from this discerning collection. Three of the English furniture pieces from this collection bear the plaque of highly reputable London dealer Norman Adams Ltd, notably a William and Mary walnut bureau dated c. 1690 (est. R70 000 – 90 000). Strauss & Co is privileged to be offering a concise selection of English furniture, writing accessories and decorative items from the estate of respected Cape Town antique dealer David Porter (1938–2012).

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef,
SOUTH AFRICAN, 1886-1957,
Mountains and Clouds,
signed and dated 50,
oil on board
29 by 39,5cm excluding frame; 50,5 by 61 by 3,5cm including frame,
R 300 000 – 500 000

Four of the five most valuable artworks in the catalogue for the April live auction are by Irma Stern, whose colour-drenched work continues to attract new audiences. The Stern offering includes three flower studies made between 1940 and 1964. The earliest, Still Life with Camellias (est. R3–4 million), is a tantalising confection of reds and leads a strong still life focus in the culminating session on 6 April. Other notable still lifes in this session include works by Walter Battiss, Freida Lock, Frans Oerder, Jody Paulsen, JH Pierneef, Cecil Skotnes and Jean Welz.

John Meyer,
Brandtfontein Memories Lost, Lost in Dust series
signed; signed and inscribed with the title on the stretcher
mixed media on canvas,
140 by 210cm excluding frame; 157,5 by 227,5 by 9,5cm including frame,
R 1 300 000 – 1 500 000

Stern’s portraits are her most prized works. Dakar Woman (est. R7–9 million), made in 1938, depicts a Senegalese woman in evocative detail. This masterful work will be presented in a focussed session titled “Figuration: Past and Present”. The session gathers a diverse selection of pieces by, among others, Deborah Bell, Norman Catherine, Robert Hodgins, Dorothy Kay, Sydney Kumalo, Nelson Makamo, Alexis Preller and Gerard Sekoto. Highlights include Maggie Laubser’s Portrait of a Woman wearing a Sari against a Floral Background (est. R800 000 – 1,2 million), which illustrates the cover of the print catalogue. This important session builds on themes from our non-selling exhibition Giving Direction: Figuration, Past and Present, held in February 2022 at Welgemeend during the vibrant art week that coincided with the Investec Cape Town Art Fair.

Alexis Preller,
SOUTH AFRICAN, 1911-1975,
Gold Kouros, and artist’s dish, two
signed and dated ’69
oil and goldleaf on panel,
60,5 by 51cm excluding frame; 64,5 by 55 by 4,5cm including frame
R 2 000 000 – 3 000 000

“I am especially delighted that Strauss & Co is handling ten works by Alexis Preller from the Coba Diederiks Collection, as well as a consignment of rare jewelry pieces inspired by Preller’s forms and owned by Diederiks,” says Bina Genovese. “The paintings include a study of a lobster gifted by the artist to Diederiks when she married in 1968. The important torso study Gold Kouros (est. R2–3 million) was made in 1969 following a trip to Greece. It incorporates an intaglio technique imparted to the artist by Coba’s husband, Hennie, who subsequently acquired Gold Kouros in part payment for this technical advice.”

Irma Stern SOUTH AFRICAN 1894-1966 Still Life with Camellias signed and dated 1940 oil on canvas 57,5 by 48,5cm excluding frame; 77,5 by 68,5 by 4cm including frame R 3 000 000 – 4 000 000

Strauss & Co is proud to lend support to the Cape Town Opera and Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra in the form of an album featuring recordings of silent versions of some of these two artistic companies’ greatest works, together with a photolithographic print by artist William Kentridge (est. R50 000 – 70 000). All proceeds from the sale of this combined lot will be donated to the Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera via the Duet Endowment Trust.

Esther Mahlangu,
Phantom Study I,
signed and dated 2020
acrylic on canvas
120 by 180 by 5cm, unframed
R 100 000 – 150 000

Specialists from Strauss & Co will lead various educational engagements, both at Brickfield Canvas and online. On Thursday 31 March, at 11am, Mia Borman and Leigh Leyde, co-curators of a focused session on figuration will present an in-person walkabout. Leyde will also host a webinar at 6pm, exploring the figure in works by Laubser, Pemba, Sekoto and Stern. On Friday, 1 April, at 10am, Vanessa Phillips and Sophie-Louise Fröhlich, from the decorative arts department, will conduct an in-person walkabout highlighting notable decorative arts pieces. At 11am, on the same day, senior art specialist Matthew Partridge will conduct an in-person lecture titled “Portraiture: Pictures that Breathe”.

Dylan Lewis
Sitting Cheetah II (S238)
signed, numbered 9/12 and S238
bronze with a brown patina
height: 127cm; length: 153m; width: 56cm
R 1 000 000 – 1 500 000

To view the entire sale offering –

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