Alexis Preller’s Adam and Eve.
Alexis Preller’s Adam and Eve.
Image: Supplied

Strauss & Co’s Johannesburg Auction Week is a vibrant programme of curated sales chronicling a century of change in SA art. The three-day sale, November 7-9, features work by JH Pierneef, Alexis Preller, Vladimir Tretchikoff and William Kentridge. The week also includes an 18-lot mini-session exploring post-war SA artists and how they have been influenced by classical African art and early European modernism.

Vladimir Tretchikoff’s The Tropical Flower (estimate R700,000-R900,000)

Susie Goodman, Strauss & Co executive director, says: “The Johannesburg Auction Week is the culminating live sale in Strauss & Co’s programme for 2021 and an important statement of intent.

“This tent-pole event includes two spellbinding pictures from the 1950s: JH Pierneef’s late-career masterpiece Bushveld, Pafuri, from 1952, and Alexis Preller’s seminal Adam and Eve, painted in 1955. It is a privilege for Strauss & Co to be handling these important works made at a transitionary moment in SA art history when the influence of Africa loomed large in the creative imagination,” she says.

JH Pierneef’s Bushveld, Pafuri (estimate R8m-R10m)

Alexis Preller’s Adam and Eve (estimate R7.6m-R8m)

JH Pierneef’s Bushveld, Pafuri.
JH Pierneef’s Bushveld, Pafuri.
Image: Supplied

The Auction Week commences on November 7, with a session presented by Strauss & Co’s wine department, followed by two sessions presented by its art department. These first sessions have a strong focus on contemporary art. The photography selection includes works by David Goldblatt, Zanele Muholi and Mikhael Subotzky and sculptors such as Willem Boshoff, Wim Botha, Frances Goodman, Chris Soal and Angus Taylor.

Sydney Kumalo’s Mythological Rider (estimate R1 m–R1.5m)

Sydney Kumalo’s Mythological Rider.
Sydney Kumalo’s Mythological Rider.
Image: Supplied

The premier session, led by the Pierneef works, on the Monday, includes lots by the pioneers of the 1930s — John Koenakeefe Mohl, George Pemba and Gerard Sekoto and has an in-session focus on the effect of classical African and Modernist art on SA art after 1945. The sculptures and paintings that feature in this session include Walter Battiss, Sydney Kumalo, Alexis Preller, Lucas Sithole, Cyprian Shilakoe, Cecil Skotnes and Edoardo Villa.

The showcase concludes on November 9, with two sessions devoted to Hylton Nel and Nico Masemola.

William Kentridge’s Drawing from Other Faces (Drive-In Screen) (estimate R1.8m–R2.4m)

Strauss & Co will preview works in Johannesburg Auction Week at its dedicated exhibition space at 89 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg, from October 25. Covid-19 regulations apply. Johannesburg Auction Week will commence at 10am on November 7 and conclude at 7pm on November 9 2021.

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