Iconic South African artworks spanning 160 years set to go under the hammer in May

A striking number of iconic artworks by South Africa’s foremost artists will lead Strauss & Co’s South African and International Art sale at The Wanderers Club, Illovo, Johannesburg on 20 May 2013.

“What is particularly pleasing about this sale is that the majority of the works consigned have been enjoyed in private collections since their original purchase,” comments Senior Paintings Specialist, Phillippa Duncan.

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, Extensive Landscape, Lydenburg, Northern Drakensberg Beyond, oil on canvas, in the artist’s hand painted frame 92,5 x 122,5cm, excluding frame, signed and dated 32.

Headlining the auction is JH Pierneef’s Extensive Landscape, Lydenburg, Northern Drakensberg Beyond. Completed in 1932, the same year as the famous Johannesburg Railway Station panels, this panoramic landscape showcases Pierneef’s mastery in capturing the nuances of the South African landscape. This masterful work includes Pierneef’s original hand-made frame, highlighting the dominant blue of the distant mountains.

The catalogue cover sports a jewel-like Alexis Preller. Gold Primavera is richly worked in gold leaf and incorporates all the skill and detail for which Preller is renowned. Originally gifted to his close friend, Erich Frey, a well-known jeweller in Pretoria from the 1960s who assisted Preller with a decorative panel for his guest suite, this work was included on both the 1972 Retrospective at the Pretoria Art Museum and the 2009 Preller Standard Bank Gallery exhibition.

Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Alicia Markova ‘The Dying Swan’ is a masterful work by one of South African arts most controversial personalities. In 1949, whilst on a tour of South Africa with the London Royal Ballet, Tretchikoff was so moved by her performance that he decided to follow Markova around the country in order to paint her. Markova is widely considered to be one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of the 20th century. She was the first British dancer to become the principal dancer of a ballet company and, with Dame Margot Fonteyn, is one of only two English dancers to be recognised as a prima ballerina assoluta.

“The amazing thing about this sale,” says Stephan Welz, Managing Director of Strauss & Co ,” is how the very best of South African art over the last 160 years is reflected here. Thomas Bowler’s Panorama of Table Mountain, is the most important 19th century South African watercolour to come onto the market in the last 30 years. From the 20th century, we have two examples of the most reproduced South African artworks ever, Frans Oerder’s Blossom Time, and Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Dying Swan, as well as outstanding major works by such celebrated artists as Alexis Preller, Irma Stern, JH Pierneef, Gwelo Goodman, Dorothy Kay, Jean Welz, Hugo Naudé, Walter Battiss and Freida Lock among many others. The sale concludes with important works by William Kentridge, Deborah Bell and Alfred Thoba as well as a selection of photographs by Jürgen Schadeberg. A truly exceptional offering, even if I say so myself!”

Arguably the finest collection since the company’s inaugural auction of 9 March 2009, this sale encompasses the best of South African and International art. For further information please contact 011-728-8246 or jhb@straussart.co.za.