Writing Art History Since 2002

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Blooming Marvellous: Alexis Preller’s The Flower King, above, is expected to fetch between R800000 and R1.2-million. Irma Stern’s Still life with Gladioli and Fruit, left, should sell for about R4.5-million

There are also a number of works by the likes of Alexis Preller, Maggie
Laubser, Maurice van Essche and Maud Sumner up for auction, with Welz
advising that Sumner is an “underpriced” South African artist whose
work should make a sound investment – especially her The Thames at
Sunset. Preller’s major work, The Flower King is a noteworthy addition
to the auction palette.

Other major artists whose work can be snapped up are William Kentridge,
Colbert Mashile, Robert Hodgins, Helen Sebidi and Gregoire Boonzaier.

A fascinating feature of the auction is a number of sculptures by a
loose association of artists known as the Amadlozi Group – Edoardo
Villa, Cecil Skotnes, Sydney Kumalo, Giuseppe Cattaneo and Cecily Sash.

Amadlozi – meaning “spirit of the ancestors” – held their first
exhibition, co-curated by art dealer Egon Guenther, in his Johannesburg
gallery in October 1963. The exhibition also toured Italy, but they
never exhibited again together as the Amadlozi Group. Despite this, the
influence of these pioneering artists’ on the development of South
African art is regarded as profound.

Welz talks about the “last-chance syndrome” of auctions, when a
collector who has been waiting years for a particular work will “beg,
borrow or steal” the money to purchase it. “Most art collectors buy
with their hearts,” he says. “The investment aspect is there, but is
relatively low.”

He says that “in the 40 years I’ve been in the industry, South
African art has held up remarkably well, and now people who had
confidence in it are reaping the rewards. “

Visit www.straussart.co.za to view the artworks.

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