Wide array of SA artworks on auction

Armando Baldinelli’s Solo Nella Notte (estimate R40 000 to R60 000).

Armando Baldinelli’s Solo Nella Notte (estimate R40 000 to R60 000).

Published Dec 14, 2023


Auctioneers Strauss & Co’s current online sale spans a century of Southern African art.

The online auction, now open for viewing, is their final one for the year, and provides a cross-section of Southern African art from the past century, ranging from pre-war to contemporary.

Featuring over 150 lots, the month-long, on-line sale allows collectors to browse at their leisure.

An array of South African artworks, including by Christo Coetzee, who embraced the avant-garde approach of artists such as the Japanese Gutai group, through to contemporary artists such as Marcus Neustetter, now living and working in Vienna, Austria.

Senior art specialist and head of Strauss & Co’s Johannesburg art department, Alastair Meredith, said: “South Africa has a wonderful history of abstract art-making, but it often feels like a little-known and sometimes under-appreciated genre within the market. This sale offers several notable abstract works.”

Among these are Kenneth Bakker’s Composition with Jasper (estimate R5000 to R7000), Coetzee’s striking Red and Black Tubular Forms (estimate R8000 to R12000) and Lionel Abrams’ Abstract Composition (estimate R2000 to R3000), as well as his Abstract Composition in Red (estimate R4000 to R6000).

A strong selection of ceramic works can also be viewed. Juliette Armstrong’s Ingcayi (pregnancy apron) is featured in the sale (estimate R10000 to R15000). Armstrong, who lived and worked as an artist and teacher in KwaZulu-Natal, was deeply influenced by the ceramic traditions of the region and is best known for her experiments with bone china. There is also a particularly rare ceramic by Dorothy Kay, titled Flora (estimate R4000 to R6000), which presents a unique opportunity for collectors of Kay’s work.

A stand-out ceramic work is one of Robert Hodgins’ painted plates, Skullpiece No.5 (estimate R10000 to R15000).

“Hodgins loved painting on ceramics. It’s a sub-genre of his output that is little-known,” said Meredith.

“This is essentially a small Hodgins painting and presents brilliant value.”

Other highlights of the sale include Surreal Space Composition (estimate R100000 to R150000) by Walter Meyer.

Dorothy Kay’s Flora (estimate R4 000 to R6 000).

Typically known for his Cape landscape works, this early career painting details the artist’s experimentation not only with gestural and expressionist painting, but with surrealist elements, too.

There is a large-scale abstract work (estimate R20000 to R30000) by the abstract painter Thakor Patel. Born in India, Patel relocated to Zimbabwe in the 1980s, where he lived and worked before moving to the US in 2017. In 2018, Patel’s work was included in Zeitz MOCAA’s exhibition of contemporary painting from Zimbabwe, Five Bhobh.

The striking mixed-media on board work Abstract Composition (estimate R20000 to R30000), by Armando Baldinelli, is another exceptional lot. Born in Ancona, Italy, Baldinelli immigrated to South Africa in 1953, initially living and working at the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg.

Christo Coetzee’s Red and Black Tubular Forms (estimate R8 000 to R12 000).

He would go on to produce several large mosaic commissions for public buildings in South Africa, including Johannesburg’s Hyde Park shopping centre and OR Tambo International Airport.

Strauss & Co’s November online sale opened for bidding on Monday, December 11. The auction closes in one-minute intervals from 2pm on Monday, January 15, next year.

Cape Times

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