Strauss & Co is pleased to announce details of its forthcoming multi-day live virtual auction of art, decorative arts, jewellery and fine wine, due to take place from Sunday, 8 November to Wednesday, 11 November 2020. This exciting bi-city initiative is titled NORTH/SOUTH and replaces the company’s traditional end-of-year city sales in Johannesburg and Cape Town with a consolidated virtual sale involving both offices simultaneously. While new in format and duration, NORTH/SOUTH is a showcase of everything Strauss & Co does best.
“As market leader we have a responsibility to innovate constantly,” says Strauss & Co joint managing director, Bina Genovese. “We successfully introduced new hybrid ways of trading and connecting with our clients in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The net outcome of our hybrid live-digital strategy for 2020 has been a 30% growth in new clients. We have learnt that in a pandemic economy, when collectors pursue their passions remotely, the geographic location of a sale is of secondary importance. This suggested an opportunity to remodel and strengthen both the format and content of our live sales by creating a marquee virtual sale to showcase optimally our incredible offerings.”
Prestigious single-owner collections have long been a hallmark of Strauss & Co’s sales. Continuing in this tradition, the NORTH/SOUTH sale commences on 8 November with a session devoted exclusively to a single-owner collection from a private cellar of the most hallowed wines of Burgundy and the northern Rhône. The 19 producers on sale include Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue and Domaine de la Romaneé-Conti, exceptional vineyards known to produce among the most sought-after wines in the world.
On the following day, 9 November, there is a session devoted to the Tasso Foundation Collection of Important South African art assembled by the late Giulio Bertrand of Morgenster. Italian-born Giulio Bertrand (1927–2018) is best known to South Africans for his transformative activities at Morgenster Estate in Somerset West.
The 75 lots consigned by the Tasso Foundation Collection, whose collecting activities Bertrand initiated, include exemplary pieces by William Kentridge, Maggie Laubser, Stanley Pinker, Alexis Preller, Irma Stern, Diane Victor and Pieter Wenning.
The cover lot for catalogue 1 of Strauss & Co’s three-volume print catalogue for NORTH/SOUTH is drawn from the Tasso Foundation’s outstanding survey collection and features Irma Stern’s 1927 oil portrait Swazi Woman (estimate R3 – 4 million). The work was probably executed in the region of the Ezulwini Valley where Stern attended a ritual dance at the Royal Kraal in Ludzidzini at the invitation of Swazi King Sobhuza II. Painted during a transitionary stage in Stern’s career, this important work captures both the artist and her subject coming of age.
Two further collections feature in a session devoted to modern, post-war and contemporary art on 11 November. Initiated by Moravian missionaries Jan Hugo and Sophie Charlotte Küpper, the Küpper Family Collection comprises six works by Maggie Laubser. Laubser gifted these works, including Boy in a Fez (estimate R500 000 – 700 000), to the couple as thanks after painting trips spent at their mission in Mamre.
The Late Desmond Fisher Collection contains excellent examples of mid-century vernacular modernism by Dumile Feni, Sydney Kumalo, Cecil Skotnes and Edoardo Villa. Kumalo’s seated figure Madala I (estimate R500 000 – 700 000) is a highlight of this private collection, and also introduces a further lot selection focussed on mid-century sculpture. In addition to Kumalo and Villa from the Desmond Fisher Collection, the line-up includes fine bronzes by Lynn Chadwick, Elizabeth Frink, Ezrom Legae, Speelman Mahlangu and Stanley Nkosi, among others. This particular session concludes the four-day sale.
All these properties slot into a remodelled catalogue and session design. NORTH/SOUTH comprises a total of eight sessions spread across four days. The scheduling, pacing and formatting of the sale has been optimised better to serve collectors and their interests. Among the innovations are Interiors, an integrated session of art, furniture and decorative arts on 9 November, and New Collector, a session featuring a medium-specific focus on South African ceramics and prints and multiples, on 10 November.
The lot selection for Interiors includes Cape, English and European furniture and collectable silverware interspersed with fine examples of 20th-century South African painting. Conceived by Vanessa Philips, Strauss & Co’s joint managing director, the intention of this session is to emphasize the total experience of collecting, as well as the integration of collectables in various media and from various ages into a domestic setting. The print catalogue includes photographs of beautifully styled displays organised by celebrated interior designer, Monique Lion-Cachet.
The Interiors session includes a vibrant selection of flower paintings, among them Irma Stern’s Still Life with Basket from 1937 (estimate R3.5 – 5 million) and Vladimir Tretchikoff’s The Tropical Flower from 1945 (estimate R1.4 – 1.6 million). An 18th-century Cape stinkwood and satinwood armoire formerly owned by collectors Punch and Cynthia Barlow (estimate R600 000 – 800 000) forms part of an impressive furniture consignment. Highlights include a Piero Fornasetti ‘Trumeau Architettura’ cabinet (estimate R750 000 – 850 000) and a Hans Wegner rosewood dining room suite (estimate R180 000 – 200 000).
The New Collector session acknowledges developments and innovations in contemporary South African ceramics and presents a diverse ensemble of notable protagonists, including Deborah Bell, John Newdigate, Ian Garrett, Katherine Glenday, Robert Hodgins, Ruan Hoffmann, Eugene Hön, Barbara Jackson, Martine Jackson, William Kentridge, Noria Mabasa, Lucinda Mudge, Nesta Nala and Hylton Nel. Important lots by pioneer contemporaries include Bonakele Ntshalintshali’s painted ceramic Elephant and Stork Embracing (estimate R20 000 – 30 000) and a painted and glazed ceramic tile by Esias Bosch (estimate R80 000 – 120 000). The session includes two lots by Andile Dyalvane, a star participant in Design Miami, including Scarified Conical Vessel (estimate R50 000 – 70 000).
NORTH/SOUTH has been designed to cater to collectors who wish to engage in their passion in a socially distant manner consistent with prevailing Covid-19 health guidance. As such, the sale will be live-streamed on Strauss & Co’s website. Collectors are nonetheless invited to the preview commencing on Monday, 26 October in Cape Town (at Brickfield Canvas, 35 Brickfield Road, Woodstock) and Johannesburg (at Strauss & Co, 89 Central Street, Houghton). Clients are advised to consult our website for the location of individual lots, either Johannesburg or Cape Town, details available on the Strauss & Co website.
A programme of walkabouts, lectures and Zoom talks will take place during the fortnight preceding the auction. The topics and the links will be available at www.straussart.co.za
The session order for the NORTH/SOUTH sale is as follows:
CATALOGUE 1 – Sessions 1-4
Sunday 8 November 2020
Session 1: 11.00am
A Private Single-owner Collection of Fine Wines from Renowned Burgundy and Rhône Valley Domaines
Monday 9 November 2020
Session 2: 10.00am
Jewellery and Oriental Works of Art
Session 3: 2.00pm
Interiors: Art, Furniture and Decorative Arts
Session 4: 7.00pm
The Tasso Foundation Collection of Important South African Art assembled by the Late Giulio Bertrand of Morgenster
CATALOGUE 2 – Sessions 5-6
Tuesday 10 November 2020
Session 5: 2.00pm
New Collector: South African Ceramics, Selected Prints and Multiples
Session 6: 7.00pm
CATALOGUE 3 – Sessions 7-8
Wednesday 11 November 2020
Session 7: 2.00pm
Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art Part I
Session 8: 7.00pm
Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art Part II including works from the Late Desmond Fisher Collection and the Küpper Family Collection