Rare Kentridge and Pierneef works lead Old Johannesburg Warehouse Auction


William Kentridge (South African, b.1955) Drawing from Another Country (1994).

Old Johannesburg Warehouse (OJW) Auctioneers brings a statement fine art sale to the market on 31 October at the Pretoria branch of OJW, 160 Lynwood Rd, Hillcrest. In a bold positioning for OJW’s fine art offering, the company is leading the sale with a rare William Kentridge drawing, a never-before-seen early painting by J.H. Pierneef, and a selection of fine art and jewellery pairings from the prestigious Schwartz Jewellers Collection Translations from 2010.

The lead lot is undoubtedly the Drawing from Another Country by Kentridge. In 1994 the artist directed a music video for the popular ‘marabi-pop’ band Mango Groove, formed ten years earlier by bassist and songwriter John Leyden and fronted by vocalist Claire Johnston. The video is for the title track of the album Another Country, released in 1993 to great critical acclaim. Considering that both album and video were produced in a time of great political upheaval in South Africa, immediately prior to the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, it is no surprise that Kentridge’s music video was produced in the signature style of his stop-motion animated charcoal ‘drawings for projection’. That series of films commenced in 1989, featuring Johannesburg magnate Soho Eckstein and depicting a society in turmoil. The original series of films are widely acknowledged as the artist’s breakthrough body of work and have just been added to in Kentridge’s latest Johannesburg exhibition, with a film entitled City Deep (2020). The music video, and the drawing on offer which comprised part of that work, are set in a very similar Johannesburg to earlier films such as Monument (1990) and Sobriety, Obesity, and Growing Old (1991). In the music video, vocalist Johnston interacts with the animated backdrops, which all feature Kentridge’s particular and familiar iconography of the period. In the case of this drawing, the motif of a drive-in movie screen, so characteristic of earlier Johannesburg landscapes such as the Top Star drive in built on top of a mine dump in the city, appears in a desolate Highveld landscape, with the beneficence of a bowl of nurturing water appearing in the sky above it. It is rare for work from any of Kentridge’s filmic projects to appear on the market, and this one is very favourably estimated at R800 000 – R1 500 000.

J.H.Pierneef (South Africa, 1886-1957), Cape Wine Cellar (1921). 


J.H.Pierneef (South Africa, 1886-1957), Cape Wine Cellar (1921).
Iconic work from a very different but equally important South African artist bookends the top-quality fine art offering on the OJW auction. OJW is pleased to offer to market a never-before-seen oil painting by J.H. Pierneef, the doyen of early Modern South African landscape painting. Better known for his iconic Highveld terra nullius landscapes, many of Pierneef’s Cape scenes date from 1921, the year he held his first solo exhibitions in the Cape, exhibiting first in Stellenbosch, and later that year at Ashbey’s Galleries in Long Street, Cape Town. The scene is quite different in mood and style to his later, more geometric and stylised paintings of Highveld scenes. It depicts the characteristic Cape Dutch gable architecture common in Stellenbosch and the Boland, and considering its clear dating of 1771, the work may be a depiction of the Wine Cellar at DuToitsplaas in Stellenbosch. Pierneef painted another version of the same view in a delicate casein rendering in 1923.

Walter Oltmann (South African, b. 1960), Entropic.



Karel Nel (South African, b. 1955), Unified Field (2010).

Another intriguing highlight on the auction, and something of a coup for OJW, is an almost complete set of paired works of fine art and hand-crafted jewellery, originally commissioned for the Schwarz Jewellers Translations exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery in 2010. The collection commissioned works by such South African contemporary art luminaries as Karel Nel, Walter Oltmann and Marco Cianfanelli, and also commissioned works of fine jewellery which ‘translated’ the artworks into breathtaking jewellery form. These paired pieces of jewellery and fine art are also seen for the first time at auction.


Comments Imre Lamprecht, Fine Art specialist at OJW, ‘We’re very excited to have put this high-quality fine art collection together for this auction. Coupled with the success that OJW has had generally through the coronavirus lockdown in our online sales, we think it indicates a new confidence in our ability to offer and successfully sell examples of the best fine art in the country at auction.’


The Auction will take place at Old Johannesburg Warehouse Auctioneers’ Pretoria office on 31 October. A preview event will take place at 6pm on Wednesday 28 October at the Union Vaults in Pretoria, where works will be on show and a short talk will be conducted over drinks and snacks. Please RSVP to +27 60 795 8545.

Live Auction
Live auction starts: Oct 31, 2020 @ 9 AM SAST