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Five must-see artworks at Strauss & Co’s gorgeous Johannesburg auction exhibition

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Strauss & Co invites the public to view a selection of over 200 artworks due to be sold in its forthcoming live virtual auction in Johannesburg on May 16 and 17, 2022. Curated by Strauss & Co’s team of art specialists, with additional assistance from artist Joni Brenner, this gorgeous exhibition includes many rare and astonishing pieces. Here are five must-see pieces.

Anton van Wouw’s Slegte Nuus (Bad News, estimate R3 – 4million), a portrayal of two slumped soldiers, is one of the sculptor’s key works and forms part of a small consignment of bronzes by Lynn Chadwick, Sydney Kumalo, Ezrom Legae and Edoardo Villa in the auction. Van Wouw’s masterpiece was conceived in 1907 and cast by Giovanni Nisini in Italy. It was acquired in Amsterdam and has remained in Europe until very recently. This heart-stirring work is displayed at the entrance of Strauss & Co’s exhibition on the crate that transported it from Belgium to South Africa.

 

Jack Heath’s African Voodoo (estimate R100 000 – 150 000) is a fine late example of this quintessentially English artist’s African-spirited painting. Produced between 1961-65, this taller than life-size work depicts a bird-like figure in a hauntingly dark palette. Trained in Birmingham and London, Heath was an influential teacher in the fine arts department at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg. The art school is linked to the careers of artists such as Neels Coetzee, Walter Oltmann, Henry Davies and Peter Schütz, all of whom feature with Heath in Strauss & Co’s specialist session devoted to Surrealism.

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Gregoire Boonzaier is closely associated with the landscapes of the Cape, but his wonderful impressionist composition Landscape with Sheaves of Wheat (estimate R200 000 – 300 000) was likely produced in Cornwall during a 1935 trip to Britain. The Boonzaier work forms part of a striking consignment of landscapes executed by pioneering women modernists such as Bertha Everard, Maggie Laubser, Cecily Sash and Irma Stern.

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In 1990, Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge visited master printmaker Malcolm Christian at Caversham Press in KwaZulu-Natal. Each worked on a portfolio of prints in their own unique style, although a common zeitgeist pervades this strikingly figurative series created during a time of social change. All the works are executed in black ink, but Hodgins additionally hand-coloured his print suite. The three portfolios are offered individually and carry pre-sale estimates ranging from R90 000 to R700 000.

 

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The watershed of the early 1990s witnessed the emergence of bold new attitudes in art. Joachim Schönfeldt’s two-part sculptural installation Saw (Adaye) (estimate R120 000 – 180 000) is a key work from this period. First exhibited in Johannesburg in 1992, his suspended plywood construction hovering over a three-headed cow was selected for the South African display at the 45th edition of the Venice Biennale in 1993. This exhibition marked South Africa’s return to the Venice Biennale following a long absence. Strauss & Co was the headline sponsor of the African Art in Venice Forum, a satellite event at this year’s 59th edition of the Venice Biennale.

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For more info on the sale visit www.straussart.co.za.  The exhibition is open to the public to view  until 17th May 2022 at 89 Central Street, Houghton Estate, JHB. Strauss & Co’s May auction in Johannesburg, which has a focus on Surrealism in South Africa, begins with a sale of fine wine from the private collections of Peter Veldsman and Dirkie Christowitz on Sunday 15 May at 11am. Sessions of Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art will take place on Monday 16 May at 2pm and 7pm, as well as on Tuesday 17 May at 7pm.

VIEW 3D GALLERY: https://www.straussart.co.za/auctions/walkabout/16-may-2022/1409  and   https://www.straussart.co.za/auctions/walkabout/16-may-2022/1402