Works totalling R52 million so

Works totalling R52 million sold at Strauss auction

As the prices at auction for contemporary art begin to climb, we ask if international buyers are starting to notice? We wonder if South African art is the next place for buyers with big cheque books to make their mark.

Works totalling R52 million so

In Strauss’ recent auction in Johannesburg, the combined sale total reached an astonishing R52 million. A striking number of the top lots at the auction house’s evening session achieved record prices, including works by Anton van Wouw, Alexis Preller and Cecily Sash.

The cover lot, The Creation of Adam I, (seen above) set a record price for Alexis Preller at over R8.5-million.

After much pre-sale interest in two Italian castings of works by Anton van Wouw, Miner with Hand Drill more than doubled its previous record of R2 005 200 set by Strauss & Co in 2013, rising sharply beyond its top estimate of R3 million to a new world record of R4.8 million!

210dPierneef proved popular with nine paintings achieving strong results. Among the top ten lots, British landscape painter Ivon Hitchens’ Landscape with a caravan and apple trees drew local and international bidders, achieving R1.25 million, and Irma Stern’s empathetic portrait of a Malay woman, Meinkie, R3.18 million, the fourth-best price on the day.

Target Composition 1, a powerful work by Cecily Sash, a founder member of the Amadlozi Group, set the room buzzing with seven phone bidders joining the competitive bidding. This new record for the artist at over R510 000, five times the presale estimate, doubled the previous record for a work by Sash set by Strauss and Co in 2012.

A spokesman for the company commented after the sale, “Once again, the fiercely competitive bidding from a packed saleroom and busy telephone bank, indicates the strength of the South African art market and the strong appetite for top quality works.”

Keep an eye out for future SA auctions here
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