• Renoir’s Fruits (Oranges et Citrons) fetches R4.575 million / $238 300
  • Spotlight sale earns R8.825 million/ $462 250 after 75% lots sold
  • New buyers account for more than half of successful bids
  • Strong showing by modernist British and European artists

CAPE TOWN – A joyous late-career still life by pioneer French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir topped Transcending Boundaries, Strauss & Co’s spotlight live-virtual auction of modern and contemporary international art on 25 October 2023. Interest in Renoir’s Fruits (Oranges et Citrons), a triumph of warm colours, was high. This petite work from 1912, recently authenticated by a Paris certifying authority, was knocked down by Managing Executive, Susie Goodman, to a committed telephone bidder for R4.575 million / $238 300 after 23 bids.

Transcending Boundaries featured 110 works by artists from the Americas, Asia Pacific, British Isles and Europe consigned from various South African collections. The auction earned a total of R8.825 million/ $462 250 from 83 lots sold. The lot sell-through rate was 75%.

“Strauss & Co is honoured to have been able to handle Renoir’s gorgeous painting Fruits (Oranges et Citrons),” commented Susie Goodman after the auction. “This late-career gem is the first work by Renoir on the African continent to be certified by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute and will appear in its digitized catalogue raisonné for the artist. We undertook this authentication exercise to ensure the work’s legitimacy and underscore our credibility as Africa’s premier auction house to new international buyers.”

“Over the past few years Strauss & Co has distinguished itself by presenting uniquely branded spotlight auctions of premium artists from our base in South Africa,” says Bina Genovese, Managing Executive. “This phenomenal auction did not disappoint. We saw especially robust demand for undervalued modernists in the catalogue for Transcending Boundaries. Bidders from more than 20 countries participated in our live-virtual auction. New buyers accounted for more than half of successful bids. This is very encouraging.”

Noteworthy individual results in the modern category included Joan Miró, John Piper, Joža Uprka and William Wyllie. Respected Czech painter Joža Uprka’s large oil Woman in Traditional Dress sold to a telephone bidder for R485 205 / $25 386. Many lots exceeded their pre-sale estimates, notably print editions by Marc Chagall and Lynn Chadwick. Anne Marie Nivoulies de Pierrefort, a French-born Brazilian painter who studied under Renoir and Pierre Bonnard, was one of number of painters to successfully debut at auction in South Africa. They included Anthony Fry, a distinguished mid-century painter who won the Prix de Rome in 1950.

The catalogue of contemporary works, while proportionally smaller, included attractive works by Mr Brainwash, Tracey Emin, Takashi Murakami and Tom Wesselmann, which all found buyers. Much loved for his clean pop lines, Tom Wesselmann’s 1981 graphic Helen Nude fetched R 117 250 / $$6 130.


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