South African Cultural Observatory

Strauss & Co’s benchmark sale of contemporary art returns to the V&A Waterfront

BY 11.02.19

Strauss & Co is pleased to announce the second of its contemporary art sales, the only such sale in South Africa devoted exclusively to this exciting category. The announcement of this 107-lot sale, due to be held on 16 February during the run of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (15 – 17 February), coincides with news that Jack Ginsberg, noted Johannesburg collector and philanthropist, has joined the board of Strauss & Co.

Highlights from the forthcoming sale, which will once again be held at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal of the V&A Waterfront, include rare early works by Marlene Dumas and William Kentridge, among South Africa’s most celebrated artists internationally. Produced in the 1970s, Naked Man (estimate R1.5 – 2 million) is an early student work by Dumas and identifies her future trajectory as a gestural painter interested in retaining the illusion of the pictorial image.

This benchmark sale also includes important recent paintings by Lisa Brice, Kate Gottgens, Georgina Gratrix and Penny Siopis, as well as photographs by David Goldblatt, Pieter Hugo, Mohau Modisakeng, Athi-Patra Ruga and Mary Sibande. Gratrix’s sumptuously painted Bride Dressed as Cake (estimate R100 000 – 150 000) typifies her energetic use of colour. Equally vibrant is Ruga’s large photograph The Knight of the Long Knives I (R250 000 – 350 000), which tells the mythical story of a ruler from a matriarchal dynasty ruling a fictional utopia.

“This diverse sale of contemporary art is an important part of Strauss & Co’s commitment to exploring and expanding the market for South African art,” said Frank Kilbourn, Strauss & Co’s executive chairperson. He added that collector enthusiasm for innovative works by a younger generation of artists is growing very rapidly. “We were thoroughly delighted by the fact that Strauss & Co established 19 new artists’ records at its inaugural contemporary art sale last year. These results, in the context of the rapidly maturing art eco-system, make us very confident of the long-term future and success of South African art.”

Kilbourn also hailed the news that Jack Ginsberg will be offering his wisdom and insight to Strauss & Co’s endeavours. “Jack is not only an innovative collector, who has bravely supported past generations of contemporary artists, but he is also a nurturing person,” said Kilbourn. “These are values we admire and promote at Strauss & Co.”

“Strauss & Co is proud to endorse contemporary art as a category worthy of its own dedicated sale,” said Bina Genovese, Strauss & Co’s joint managing director, of the company’s decision to hold the sale in Cape Town. “Our strategic decision to host the auction at the same time as the Investec Cape Town Art Fair has, we believe, added another important dimension to the programming of Art Week Cape Town (6 – 17 February 2019). There is now a close alliance between the primary and secondary markets, providing momentum for expansion across both markets, which will ultimately benefit artists.”

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