From Pierneef to Makamo: a heritage of artistic pedigree in Strauss & Co’s Spring online-only auction

Strauss & Co’s October online-only auction, which is now open and runs until 8pm on Monday 19 October, offers a cornucopia of pleasures. The lot offerings encompass collectable art, jewellery and accessories, and fine wine. Highlights include Kanonkop’s CWG Paul Sauer, the ne plus ultra of South African wines, as well as luxurious ladies’ silk scarves and gentlemen’s silk ties by Hermès.

The substantial art inventory encompasses drawings, prints, paintings, bronzes and beaded textiles produced by a host of collectable artists ranging from modern master JH Pierneef to contemporary market darling Nelson Makamo.

This edition of Strauss & Co’s popular online-only auction includes works by seventeen painters from eight African countries shortlisted for the 2020 Emerging Painting Invitational Prize (EPI). Now in its second edition, the EPI is an international art platform developed by the Emerging African Art Galleries Association to support and recognise up-and-coming painters living and working on the continent. Finalists are invited to present three works for an exhibition and juried prize, which in this pandemic year is being held online.

Strauss & Co has partnered with the organisers of the 2020 EPI to showcase and sell work by this year’s finalists. This is an excellent opportunity to identify and own work by new painting talent from Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

Works on paper are a time-honoured and affordable category of collectable. The sale includes excellent examples by prominent advocates of this democratic medium: Peter Clarke, Nelson Makamo, Mongezi Ncaphayi, JH Pierneef and Diane Victor.

Mongezi Ncaphayi was one of the star acts at this year’s Stellenbosch Triennale. His 2018 mixed-media work, Abstract Composition (estimate R40 000 – 60 000), is typical of his enigmatic merging of line and colour. Nelson Makamo, by contrast, achieves fluency through his renderings of the human figure. His 2018 watercolour and charcoal on paper, Girl in a Yellow Dress (estimate R150 000 – 200 000), is one of nine lots by this popular contemporary artist and pairs well with emerging artist Chepape Makgato’s 2016 composition, Mma-Modjadji – Rain Queen’s Mother (estimate R5 000 – 7 000).

Diane Victor is a peerless master printmaker, especially when working at scale. Among the five lots by this artist is a large 158 by 85cm etching and blind embossing titled Straight Dress (estimate R80 000 – 120 000). Like Victor, Peter Clarke excelled as a printmaker. The sale includes two beautiful works celebrating human endurance, the colour linocut on tissue paper Blue Monday and colour woodcut Doing What We Have to Do, We Get on With Our Lives (estimate R18 000 – 24 000, each).

An evergreen at auction, whatever the economic climate, JH Pierneef’s love of trees is amply showcased in three works on paper. Landscape with Trees (estimate R25 000 – 35 000) is an early pastel on paper, possibly dated 1915. View of Trees and Stream (estimate R30 000 – 40 000) sees the master use watercolour to (quickly delete) record quickly aspects of a wooded landscape. Bushveld Trees (estimate R40 000 – 60 000) is a single lot comprising two pencil drawings of Leadwood trees executed in Pierneef’s unerring architectural style.

In anticipation of Strauss & Co’s forthcoming sale of a trove of Dylan Lewis bronze felines in its NORTH/SOUTH sale (8–11 November), collectors will delight in a rare oil painting by this celebrated Cape sculptor depicting a Cape Robin and Sugarbush (estimate R20 000 – 30 000).

The jewellery and accessories selection incudes pieces dating from the 19th (nineteenth) century to the present. There are nine lots by American trained contemporary Cape Town jewellery designer Taz Watson. The auction includes six ladies’ silk scarves, with four lots by Hermès (estimate R2 000 – 3 000, each) and two by Gucci (estimate R1 500 – 2 000, each), both of which were designed by Vittorio Accornero. There are 11 silk ties for gentlemen, including nine lots by Hermès (estimate R1 000 – 1 200, each).

South African wines have emerged as an important category of collectable. Strauss & Co has achieved a number of South African records since it debuted its fine wine auction in 2019, with Kanonkop proving especially popular.

This auction includes three lots of Kanonkop’s 2010 vintage Black Label Pinotage (estimates vary per lot size) and two lots of Kanonkop winemaker Abrie Beeslaar’s auction wine CWG Paul Sauer from 2010 (estimate R14 000 – 16 000, each). The fine-wine inventory also includes Italian and French wines.

In anticipation of Strauss & Co’s forthcoming NORTH/SOUTH sale of a private single-owner collection of fine wines from renowned Burgundy and Rhône Valley domaines, Strauss & Co is offering other wines from these two regions. The online-only selection includes wines by Bouchard Aîné et Fils, Domaine du Colombier, Domaine Drouhin-Laroze and Domaine Leflaive, among others.

Strauss & Co’s online-only sale of modern, post-war and contemporary art, jewellery and fine wine ends at 8pm on Monday 19 October. Due to the COVID-19 health restrictions, collections of purchased lots from Strauss & Co’s offices will be allowed by appointment only.

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