A magisterial floral still life by Irma Stern, South Africa’s foremost painter, is the highlight of Strauss & Co’s bountiful crop of offerings at its forthcoming spring sale in Cape Town on 15 October.
Painted in 1947, Dahlias (estimate R8 – 12 million) is a peak-period Stern depicting a favoured flower and additionally claims an impeccable provenance.
The intersection of quality and provenance is a hallmark of Strauss & Co’s October sale. The catalogue includes 22 paintings released from the Labia Family Collection, as well as 20 works in various media from the Peter and Regina Strack Collection, notably three rare paintings on canvas by Adolph Jentsch.
Count Luccio Labia, who passed away in November 2016, was well known for his judicious taste, both in art and cars. The son of Count Natale Teodato Labia and Princess Ida Labia, née Robinson, daughter of South African mining magnate and art collector Sir Joseph Benjamin Robinson (1840 – 1929), Count Luccio Labia’s art collection included works by South African, European and British artists.
Aside from the excellent Stern, other notable works released from the Labia Family Collection include an important landscape painting from 1918 by Pieter Wenning, The Yellow House: Bishopscourt in Winter (estimate R500 000 – 700 000). Executed on an overcast day in August 1918, the work shows Wenning at the pinnacle of his perceptive mastery. British modernist Ivon Hitchens’ Felled Trees (estimate R500 000 – 700 000) was painted in 1946 and originates from the same period as a work held in the Tate Collection.
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 Adolph Jentsch and principally collected 20th-century Namibian art, notably works by Jentsch, Fritz Krampe and John Muafangejo. Highlights include Vlei on Farm Teufelsbach (estimate R600 000 – 800 000), which offers a delightfully verdant view of the Otjihavera River, and Ibenstein, SW Afrika (estimate R600 000 – 700 000), a masterfully achieved night scene in grey.
Other notable works from single-owner collections on offer at Strauss & Co’s spring sale include two drawings and two paintings from the Irma Stern Trust Collection, as well as four relief paintings by mid-century artist Kenneth Bakker who, in 1963, was the first local painter to receive an award at the São Paulo Biennale.
A global leader for South African art, Strauss & Co has sold nine of the ten most expensive paintings ever auctioned in South Africa. Stern’s Dahlias (lot 513) will go under the hammer on the evening of Monday 15 October at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town. The public can view this important work, along with other works mentioned, from 12 to 14 October, from 10:00 to 17:00. Strauss & Co will also be hosting an extensive programme of public talks and social events in the lead-up to the sale.
VENUE | The Vineyard Hotel, Newlands, Cape Town, Colinton Road (off Protea Road)
PREVIEW | Friday 12 to Sunday 14 October 10:00 to 17:00
WALKABOUTS | Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October at 11:00
ENQUIRIES AND CATALOGUES +27 (0) 21 683 6560 | Mobile +27 (0) 78 044 8185 | Fax: +27 (0) 21 683 6085 | www.straussart.co.za
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