Leading the way
Art newcomer outsells rivals in just one year
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