Millions achieved for South African Art

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Irma Stern, Portrait of Freda Feldman in Basotho Hat, Accompanied by the Basuto hat worn by the sitter, Sold R5 115 600
Irma Stern, Portrait of Freda Feldman in Basotho Hat, Accompanied by the Basuto hat worn by the sitter, Sold R5 115 600

Strauss & Co’s auction in Johannesburg last night which achieved a total of almost R42 million, was characterised by a packed auction room and a busy bank of telephones. The top lot of the auction, Irma Stern’s Portrait of Freda Feldman with Basuto Hat, which sold on the telephone for over R5 million, was repatriated from Australia to be sold by Strauss & Co.

Works by JH Pierneef performed extremely well, the top lot being Winter Bosveld which sold for over R1,8 million. All 11 works on offer by Pierneef sold well over their estimates affirming the enduring strength of his market.

Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff, Sunflowers, Sold R1 705 200
Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff, Sunflowers, Sold R1 705 200

The biggest surprise of the evening was the frenzied bidding on Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Sunflowers which sold for over R1,7 million against a presale estimate of R400 000 – 600 000. This exceptional work, which has never been on the market before, was purchased directly from the artist in 1959, the year it was painted.

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Contemporary art was snapped up by new and seasoned collectors alike. Artists such as William Kentridge, Norman Catherine, Willem Boshoff, Pieter Hugo, Kudzanai Chiurai and Cameron Platter performed exceptionally well.

Dendy Easton, international auctioneer, Antiques Road Show art expert and ex-Sotheby’s director UK, who took the Evening Session of the sale, complemented Strauss & Co on the exceptional results achieved – over 80% sold by lot and by value combined – and on the high standard of their catalogue, marketing and modus operandi.

Once again a thrilling auction reaffirms Strauss & Co’s position as the global market leader for South African art.

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