Strauss & Co’s fourth and final live auction of 2017 ended on a high note in Johannesburg, with combined sales totalling R76 million.
The exceptional result, achieved on a solid 84.32% value sell-through rate, helped push the company’s annual turnover into record territory. Combined sales for the financial year to date are R322 584 601. “Consistency lies at the heart of our excellent results,” said Strauss & Co’s chairperson Frank Kilbourn. “Throughout the year, Strauss & Co has dependably brought top quality works to the market at realistic estimates, enabling our clients, both buyers and sellers, to benefit from high sell through rates and several record prices. We are committed to keep on innovating to expand both the range of works offered and the audience we serve.” A day of lively bidding saw exceptional prices achieved for blue-chip artists like Alexis Preller, Irma Stern and Gerard Sekoto. There was great anticipation around Preller’s transformative study of a wounded soldier, Fleurs du Mal, which drew on the painter’s experiences as a stretcher-bearer and medic in World War Two. The work sold for R8 184 960, well above the high estimate. “In the last two years, Preller has emerged as South Africa’s leading post-war painter,” said Bina Genovese, Strauss & Co’s joint managing director, who knocked down Fleurs du Mal. Genovese additionally handled Flower King, a handsome allegorical portrait from 1968 that sold for R3 296 720; Horseman, a small oil from 1950 that achieved R1 932 560; and Sea Amphora, a 1962 work depicting a vessel-like form that brought in R1 705 200. Added Genovese: “Strauss & Co continues to play a leading role in giving this leading artist the prominence he deserves.”
Strauss & Co Johannesburg sale in brief:
- Total sales: R75 822 357
- Value sell-through rate: 84.32%
- Top lot: Alexis Preller, Fleurs du Mal, sold for R8 184 960
- Artist highlights: exceptional prices achieved for Breyten Breyetenbach, Ernst de Jong, William Kentridge, Gerard Sekoto, Mary Sibande, Moses Tladi, Harold Voigt and Gordon Vorster
Strauss and Co’s final sale, an online-only auction, runs Friday, 17 November to Monday, 27 November.