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Strauss Gets Art Heavyweights on Board

Strauss & Co is bolstered by heavyweights

Strauss & Co is proud to announce important appointments to its Board and team of art heavyweights and specialists. Further bolstering the rock solid legacy of founding managing director, Stephan Welz, who passed away late last year.

Following Elisabeth Bradley’s retirement as Chairman, Frank Kilbourn joins the Board as Executive Chairman of Strauss & Co, with immediate effect. Kilbourn is well-known and respected in business and the art world and brings with him substantial knowledge, experience and passion. Bradley remains a member of the Board of Strauss & Co.

Frank and his wife, Lizelle, began collecting art while still students at what is now the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Over a period of thirty years, they have built an exceptional collection representative of modern and contemporary South African art. They are also involved in fundraising for the preservation of important local collections. 

As collectors we have developed an acute awareness of the responsibility and privilege of owning a private art collection. This includes the importance of sharing our collection with the public. Becoming part of such a prestigious auction house further deepens our commitment to art in South Africa.

Elisabeth Bradley, outgoing Chairman of Strauss & Co, says, ‘We are delighted that Frank has joined our Board. As a highly esteemed and astute businessman, art collector and philanthropist we know that his participation will make an incalculable contribution to the auction house and, in turn, to the art market.’

Co-founder Dr Conrad Strauss, adds, ‘We extend our heartfelt thanks to Elisabeth for her enormous contribution to the company. Under her leadership the company rapidly established itself as the leading auction house and built up an enviable reputation.’

In addition, the Board of Strauss & Co is pleased to announce that another Carmen Welz has joined the art heavyweights and Board of Directors. It is an important appointment that will ensure that the immeasurable legacy of her late husband Stephan Welz continues.

‘Carmen has been part of the Strauss family since inception and we now formally welcome her to the Board. Her appointment brings continuation and the benefit of her immense knowledge of the auction and art world,’ Bradley says.

Strauss Gets Heavyweights on Board
Strauss & Co Board of Directors: Caro Wiese, Dr Conrad Strauss, Venessa Phillips, Elisabeth Bradley, Bina Genovese, Carmen Welz and Frank Kilbourn.

Furthermore, Wilhelm van Rensburg and Marion Dixon share appointments as art specialists based at the Johannesburg office. Van Rensburg has a Masters degree in History of Art from the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He is also Research Fellow at the Visual Identities in Art & Design (VIAD) research centre at UJ.

He is an independent art curator and has mounted numerous exhibitions for various institutions. Most notably the JH Pierneef in 2015, the Irma Stern in 2003, and the Judith Mason in 2008. All exhibitions hosted at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg. He is curator of education for the Henri Matisse: Rhythm & Meaning exhibition at Standard Bank Gallery opening in July.

Apart from his curatorial accomplishments, Van Rensburg is a familiar figure in the art world as co-director, for the past ten years, of Art on Paper (AOP), a well-known gallery in Johannesburg.

Marion Dixon holds a Masters degree in History of Art (with distinction) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Since then, she has been working as a freelance art consultant and curator. She has consulted for private and corporate clients, including FirstRand Bank, while serving as curator of the Constitutional Court art collection. She has built up an extensive network of contacts in the South African art world and academia.

She has also curated an important art exhibition entitled ‘Water: the [Life’Delicate] Thread of Life at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg in 2011. An exhibition featuring some 30 contemporary South African artists. 

Kilbourn concludes, ‘With the recent appointments of art heavyweights, the company has not only provided for succession, but also ensured that it has the skills and energy necessary to maintain its leadership in the market.’

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