Lead­ing the way

Art new­comer out­sells ri­vals in just one year

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - AUCTIONS -

FIG­URES re­leased re­cently by Art Vault show that auc­tion house Strauss & Co, un­der Stephan Welz’s lead­er­ship, is lead­ing the field in the South African paint­ings auc­tion mar­ket.

The auc­tion house’s turnover for the year of mostly high-end paint­ings has been R86 617 150 – or R100 mil­lion in­clud­ing pre­mium and VAT – nearly dou­ble that of its near­est com­peti­tor, which han­dled half the num­ber of lots.

Strauss & Co held three highly suc­cess­ful auc­tions with on av­er­age of 192 lots each and an av­er­age ham­mer price of R150 000 for each lot, by far the h i g h e s t av e r a g e a c h i e v e d among the five top auc­tion houses han­dling South African art.

Chair­man Elis­a­beth Bradley is “over­whelmed by the out­stand­ing achieve­ments Strauss & Co has ac­com­plished in its first year of op­er­a­tion, de­spite be­ing the new kid on the block, the re­ces­sion and a highly com­pet­i­tive lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional mar­ket”.

In one year, Strauss & Co had be­come a name that “speaks of ex­traor­di­nary art, as well as un­par­al­leled ex­per­tise and ser­vice (and is) by turnover the largest fine art auc­tion house in South Africa”, Bradley said.

Strauss & Co has set nu­mer­ous auc­tion records for, among oth­ers, An­ton van Wouw, Irma Stern, Jean Welz, Wolf Ki­bel, Frans Oerder and Freida Lock, Cape fur­ni­ture, and Paul Storr sil­ver. Par­tic­u­larly no­table among th­ese were:

The high­est price for a paint­ing – R7 241 000 paid for Mag­no­lias in an Earth­en­ware Pot by Stern and a world record for a still life by the artist.

The high­est price for a sculp­ture – R946 900 paid for Die Noitjie van die On­derveld by Van Wouw and a world record for the artist.

The high­est price for a piece of Cape fur ni­ture – R1 058 300, a record, paid for an 18th-cen­tury sil­ver-mounted coro­man­del buf­fet.

The high­est price for an item of sil­ver – R1 559 600, three times the es­ti­mate, paid for a pair of Ge­orge III sil­ver wine cool­ers and lin­ers by Storr, Lon­don 1819.

In their pur­suit of rar­ity and qual­ity, Strauss & Co was en­trusted with the sale of sev­eral im­por­tant works from pri- vate hands that were fresh to the mar­ket and had been ac­quired di­rectly from artists or their es­tates or had been out of the pub­lic do­main for years.

T h e s e i n cl u d e d S t e r n’s Carla (R5 570 000), Ki­bel’s Self Por­trait (R1 225 400, a world record for the artist), and Welz’s Still Life Cézan­nesque (R1 225 400, a world record for the artist).

The Les­lie Mil­ner Col­lec­tion, com­pris­ing 42 South African paint­ings, also achieved ex­cel­lent re­sults.

Strauss & Co has done jus­tice to sev­eral pre­vi­ously over­shad­owed artists, achiev­ing record prices for their work. Th­ese in­clude Ki­bel, Oerder, Dorothy Kay, May Hill­house and Edoardo Villa.

Al­though the works of­fered were ex­cep­tional ex­am­ples of the artists’ work, that they were pro­fes­sion­ally pre­sented to the mar­ket greatly en­hanced their sell­ing price.

Im­por­tant col­lec­tions have been se­cured for the auc­tion in March, to be held at the Vine­yard Ho­tel, Cape Town. Th­ese in­clude a col­lec­tion of 30 works by William Tim­lin, and the late Edith Dodo’s col­lec­tion.

Call 087 806 8780 for more in­for­ma­tion.

WORLD RECORD: Irma Stern’s Strauss & Co, a world record for a still life by the artist.

was sold for R7 241 000 by

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