Rare Namib­ian works on of­fer as part of Cape sale

• Works in Strack col­lec­tion in­clude oil paint­ings by Jentsch and Krampe

Business Day - - AUCTIONS - MAD­DEN COLE

Strauss & Co, a lead­ing auc­tion house in SA, is pre­sent­ing 20 works in var­i­ous me­dia from the Namibia-based col­lec­tion of the late Pe­ter and Regina Strack.

The sale, which in­cludes three rare Adolph Jentsch oils and a ma­jor Fritz Krampe oil, will be of­fered in a ded­i­cated seg­ment at the auc­tion house’s forth­com­ing sale in Cape Town on Oc­to­ber 15.

Ger­man-born Pe­ter Strack im­mi­grated to Namibia in 1950 and was a part­ner in the ar­chi­tec­tural firm Stauch & Part­ners.

He be­gan hon­ing his skills as an artist and col­lec­tor un­der the tute­lage of painter Adolph Jentsch. The col­lec­tion that he as­sem­bled with his wife, Regina, is strik­ing due to its fo­cus on ear­lier 20th-cen­tury Namib­ian artists such as Jentsch and Krampe, as well as Axel Eriks­son and Carl Oss­mann.

Dres­den-born Jentsch, who moved to Namibia in 1938, is a key fig­ure in the art his­tory of his adopted coun­try. His mas­ter­ful land­scapes are im­bued with a spir­i­tual calm. Jentsch’s work has been a fix­ture at auc­tions there and in SA.

In Novem­ber 2017, Strauss & Co sold an oil on can­vas from 1940 painted near the Swakop River for R1.6m.

Col­lec­tors hold Jentsch’s oils in high es­teem, in part due to their rar­ity. In 1975, a dis­as­trous fire at a farm owned by Geb­hard and Dorothee von Funcke, where the artist stored many of his prized works, de­stroyed much of his out­put, which the artist only re­luc­tantly traded.

The Strack col­lec­tion in­cludes three oils, one of which,

Schafriv­ier (es­ti­mated value R500,000-R700,000), had been be­queathed by Dorothee von Funcke to the Stracks.

Painted in Jentsch’s muted colour pal­ette, the work de­picts the Schaf River near Wind­hoek.

“This serene work high­lights the im­por­tance of qual­ity and prove­nance as the corner­stone of build­ing a suc­cess­ful col­lec­tion,” says Kirsty Colledge, a se­nior art spe­cial­ist at Strauss & Co who han­dled the con­sign­ment of the Strack col­lec­tion.

The other oil works be­ing of­fered on auc­tion are Vlei on

Farm Teufels­bach (es­ti­mate R600,000-R800,000), an un­usu­ally ver­dant view of the Otji­hav­era River, and Iben­stein,

SW Afrika (es­ti­mate R600, 000–R700,000), a mas­ter­fully achieved night scene in gray that was pur­chased from the artist’s es­tate by Pe­ter Strack in 1983.

The Strack con­sign­ment in­cludes a Jentsch acrylic Schafriv­ier Ufer (es­ti­mate R200, 000R300,000) that was ex­hib­ited at the SA Na­tional Gallery, Cape Town, in 1969. Arid Land­scape

with Trees (es­ti­mate R5,000R7,000) is one of four wa­ter­colours on of­fer. It was given as a gift to the Stracks by Dorothee von Funcke.

The Fritz Krampe of­fer­ings are no less aus­pi­cious and in­clude one of this Berlin-born artist’s ma­jor works, a dou­blesided oil on can­vas from 1958, Vil­lage Scene with Woman smok­ing Pipe/Fish­ing Boat (es­ti­mate R250,000-R350,000). This work is a de­vi­a­tion from Krampe’s usual an­i­mal stud­ies and de­picts an East African vil­lage and its res­i­dents.

Krampe’s Cat­tle Frieze from 1959 (R200,000-R300,000) is a pre­lim­i­nary study for the artist’s ac­claimed 10m long Otji­ta­mbi

Frieze. The frieze and pre­lim­i­nary works are ex­ten­sively dis­cussed in Timeless En­coun­ters, a 2007 book on Krampe au­thored by Pe­ter Strack. (In 2003 Strack also pub­lished a book on Jentsch.)

Pe­ter Strack’s work as an artist is also ac­knowl­edged in the Strauss & Co sale, which fea­tures two un­dated sculp­tural pieces made from palm wood.

The Strack of­fer­ing fur­ther in­cludes pieces by SA artists, no­tably Alexis Preller’s Pondo

Girl (es­ti­mate R80,000R120,000), an early char­coal draw­ing from 1938.

The Strack col­lec­tion of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on the kin­ship be­tween Namib­ian and SA land­scape painters. In 1923, South African JH Pierneef vis­ited Namibia. Pierneef ex­hib­ited in Wind­hoek and met lo­cal artists such as Axel Eriks­son, whose

Kleine Spitzkoppe from 1921 (es­ti­mate R30,000-R40,000) shares many affini­ties with his SA con­tem­po­rary’s rap­tur­ous moun­tain stud­ies.

The sale of the Strack col­lec­tion (lots 514-533) takes place on Oc­to­ber 15 at 7pm at the Vine­yard Ho­tel, Cape Town. It in­cludes 23 paint­ings from the Labia fam­ily col­lec­tion. The high­light is a mas­ter­piece by Irma Stern, a still life of Dahlias (es­ti­mate R8-12m) de­pict­ing a favoured flower and claims an im­pec­ca­ble prove­nance. Stern’s bril­liantly coloured oil was ac­quired by Cape Town col­lec­tor Count Luc­cio Labia in 1994.

The sale in­cludes fur­ni­ture, dec­o­ra­tive arts and jewellery.

Mas­ter­piece: Fritz Krampe’s Vil­lage Scene with Woman Smok­ing Pipe, recto, Fish­ing Boat, verso, signed and dated 1958.

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