Online Art Auction – Many works of art for budding collectors
“There is something for every budget. Budding collectors will find works by well-known South African artists at great prices to start their collection.
“If you’re an established collector looking to expand your collection, the auction also showcases rising contemporary stars on the secondary art market radar,” says Wilhelm van Rensburg, Senior Art Specialist and Chief Curator at Strauss and Co, which runs this sell.
The multi-session online sale of modern, post-war and contemporary art includes well-known 20th-century stalwarts like Cecil Skotnes, Walter Battiss, Irma Stern, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge.
Van Rensburg is particularly excited about the works by contemporary South African artists featured in this auction. “Although we always advise our clients to buy for love and not for investment, this is the question that our art specialists ask themselves most often. “Who should I invest in?”
Ever since one of his works appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in 2019, there was a significant increase in interest in Johannesburg-based artist Nelson Makamo. Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani and musician Annie Lennox are among the collectors of his work.
Van Rensburg names Makamo as one of the stars of the auction. “We are delighted to have several of his works in this auction. With estimates below R10,000, they are accessible to as many people as possible. An example is lot 331, Figure with a clenched fistwhich is an evocative work on paper featuring a haunted figure coated in an iridescent blue halo of soft powder.
Sam Nhlengethwa, founder of the Bag Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg, is one of South Africa’s most versatile artists. Nhlengethwa is best known for his figurative paintings and collages which explore themes such as art history, jazz, mining and social issues. There are several examples of his works of art in this auction, including two exquisite lithographs of the musician, Miles Davis, (lot 57 and lot 58), as well as a series of mixed media works illustrating daily life. in South Africa.
Another artist to watch is Mongezi Ncaphayi, who received the prestigious Absa L’atelier Gerard Sekoto Award in 2013. His works are in several important collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Ampersand Foundation (TAF) in London and the Fondazione Benetton.
Like Nhlengethwa and Wassily Kandinsky, two artists who influenced him, music is also the inspiration for his works. In an interview with South African art, he compares his abstract works to musical compositions in a visual form. When creating, he also follows a method similar to a jazz improvisational musician. “I don’t really plan my compositions. I rely on my intuition and my spontaneity. They evolve as I make them. I let the work of art guide me in its different directions. Van Rensburg highlights two works on paper by Ncaphayi, Summary 1 (Batch 23) and Summary 2 (lot 24).
The auction also includes lots from important Venda sculptors including Noriah Mabasa, Jackson Hlungwani and Owen Ndou. The Ndou and Hlungwani sculptures were featured in the 2016 flagship exhibition, South Africa: the art of a nationpreserved in the British Museum in London, alongside national treasures such as the Mapungubwe rhinoceros, sculptures by Mary Sibande and paintings by JH Pierneef.
An erotic romp
Collectors looking for an offbeat conversation starter can consider three works by Walter Battiss. The artist created a wide selection of erotic works in the 1970s in protest against apartheid censorship laws. The works in his Orgy series are some of his most beloved works.
two drawings, Orgy 1 (Lot 408) and Orgy 2 (Lot 409) depict a bacchanalian frolic, with characters enthusiastically engaged in various carnal activities. The auction also includes a screen print, Orgy 5 (Lot 237) representing various characters “in flagrante delicto”. For this series, Battiss was inspired by the elegant simplicity of indigenous rock art.
“When Battiss launched his Orgy series at an exhibition in Pietermaritzburg in the 1970s, there was a moral outcry. The works were classified as pornographic by Puritan authorities. The police closed the exhibition after receiving complaints from the public,” explains Van Rensburg.Today, they are among the most sought-after printed matter.
Classic still life themes
Still lifes, from the evanescent realistic vanities of the Dutch Golden Age to the more vivid and vibrant works of the Post-Impressionists, are currently all the rage in interior design. Semi-abstract tropical landscapes and scenes reminiscent of Scottish painter Peter Doig also appear everywhere, from art prints to wallpaper.
Rather than buying prints, why not invest in original artwork by a South African artist?
The auction offers a selection of still lifes in different styles and mediums – from the impressionist style of Adriaan Boshoff to the more abstract and semi-figurative styles of Aileen Lipkin, Flowers in a vaseand Nel Erasmus, Still life.
Dutch-born artist Frans Oerder is one of the country’s most skilled pre-war still life artists. His oil painting Still life with pink and red roses (lot 83) demonstrates a delicate beauty, but also the fleeting transience for which Dutch Golden Age still lifes are known.
The late artist Andrew Verster is well known for his vivid use of jewel tones and descriptive lines in his works. Judge Albie Sachs paid a fine tribute to the artist after his passing in 2020, calling Verster’s art “beautiful, unusual, elegant, striking, thoughtful and accessible – much like the spirit and creative sensibility of his Creator”.
idyllic landscape (lot 1), a verdant abstract landscape, with flowing and expressive brushstrokes in hues of emerald, peridot, saffron and malachite, against a cerulean blue sky is one of the most striking works of the auction, according to Van Rensburg.
The auction opens Monday, September 26 at 8:00 a.m. and closes on Monday, October 3, 2022 with the first staff highlight session ending at 6:00 p.m. and the second half of the auction ending at 8:00 p.m.