African Designers Feature Strongly in Strauss & Co’s June Sale of Decorative Arts


Collectable design by an illustrious assembly of modern and contemporary designers, among them Cheick Diallo, Shiro Kuramata and René Lalique, is the focus of Strauss & Co’s Decorative Arts Live Virtual Auction (27 June). The decorative arts auction comprises two sessions and additionally features a diverse consignment of furniture, glassware and painting from Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, as well as a highly attractive offering of English, Continental and South African interior pieces.

“South African collectors have shown strong appetite for modern and contemporary design furniture, with significant sales recorded at auction locally in the past three years,” says Vanessa Phillips, Strauss & Co’s joint managing director and head of the decorative arts department. “This auction includes a cross-section of furniture pieces by African, American, Asian and European designers, which we have complemented with outstanding pieces in silver, glass and ceramic.”

Highlights from the introductory Design session include a leather lounge chair by Malian designer Cheick Diallo (estimate R9 000 – 12 000), a pair of Prosim Sedni/ Papillon armchairs by Czech designer Borek Sipek (estimate R20 000 – 25 000) and a Rocking Armchair Rod base chair, abbreviated to RAR, by American designers Charles and Ray Eames (estimate R7 000 – 9 000). The catalogue also features a rare auction appearance of a nickel-plated steel mesh ‘How High the Moon’ armchair by Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata (estimate R80 000 – 100 000).

Other noteworthy furniture pieces in this session include a Cassina-edition set of six ebonised ash and mother-of-pearl inlaid DS3 chairs based on a 1918 design of Scotsman Charles Rennie Mackintosh (estimate R20 000 – 25 000) and set of three Panton polyurethane chairs by the esteemed Danish designer Verner Panton (estimate R10 000 – 15 000). Japanese designer Masayuki Kurosawa’s Lavinia table lamp (estimate R30 000 – 35 000) forms part of a cheerful grouping of decorative pieces. They include three pieces by French glass designer René Lalique, among them a gorgeous ‘Sirènes’ (1920) perfume burner and cover (estimate R6 000 – 8 000).

Strauss & Co is very pleased to be offering a single-owner collection of pieces assembled by adventure writer Wilbur Smith and his wife, Niso Smith.

They include a tray-on-stand by local furniture icon Pierre Cronje (estimate R4 000 – 6 000), thirteen silver place card holders by Zimbabwean silversmith Patrick Mavros (estimate R9 000 – 12 000) and pair of Southeast-Asian side tables (estimate R8 000 – 10 000) acquired at Strauss & Co’s 2019 sale of the contents of Harcroft House.

The painting consignment also includes Catherine Paynter’s Under the Sea I & II (estimate R30 000 – 50 000 for both), part of an on-going series of enchanted marine landscapes. Proceeds from this session will benefit the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to empowering young writers, the advancement of the adventure-writing genre and the promotion of literacy.

The mixed consignment of English, Continental and South African design includes an Edwardian mahogany military and brass-mounted chest-on-chest from De Goede Hoop Estate, Noordhoek (estimate R10 000 – 15 000), a George III-style mahogany and leather upholstered wingback armchair (estimate R9 000 – 12 000) and 200-year-old Breton oak day bed (estimate R10 000 – 15 000). The handsome consignment of weights and measures includes a Cape of Good Hope 4lb brass weight from 1896 (estimate R8 000 – 10 000). Collectors of Boer War memorabilia are pointed to a 1902 POW box from Ceylon (estimate R4 000 – 6 000).

The live virtual auction takes place on Monday 27 June in two sessions at 10am and 2pm.