Strauss & Co. (supplied):

Emma Bedford has been Senior Art Specialist at Strauss and Co since 2009. She is highly regarded both locally and internationally, having played an unequalled role as the Senior Curator of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture and the Head of Art Collections at Iziko South African National Gallery and as Director of Goodman Gallery Cape.

In 25 years at the National Gallery she curated exhibitions that included JH Pierneef, Irma Stern, Maggie Laubser and Walter Battiss, amongst others, and worked closely with contemporary artists on solo shows like William Kentridge (2002) and Marlene Dumas: Intimate Relations (2007, travelling to the Standard Bank Gallery in 2008), in both cases their first large-scale survey exhibitions in South Africa.

With funding from the Prins Bernhard Fonds made to Marlene Dumas and generously donated to her by the artist, Bedford curated Fresh, a series of residencies and monographs for young South African artists Senzeni Marasela, Berni Searle, Robin Rhode, Tracey Rose, Usha Seejarim, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt and Moshekwa Langa (2000 – 2003).

At Goodman Gallery from 2007 until 2009, she worked closely with many of South Africa’s most prominent contemporary artists including Robert Hodgins, William Kentridge, Moshekwa Langa, Brett Murray and Sue Williamson in preparing their exhibitions and promoting their works to local and international audiences. It was a rare privilege to work with Hodgins on his last exhibition in 2009.

She is an acknowledged expert in South African art, has extensive experience in curating exhibitions and developing collections and has authored and edited numerous publications. She has often been invited to lecture on art or present papers at international conferences and was the only South African curator invited to attend the International Curatorial Workshop at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in March 2005.

So it is not surprising that when she joined Strauss & Co Managing Director, Stephan Welz, proclaimed that “it is rare that someone of this calibre becomes available”. Her expertise in contemporary art has led to the introduction of many leading artists to local and international auction buyers including Jane Alexander, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Penny Siopis and Ed Young and contributed to the extraordinary results and auction records achieved by Strauss & Co for artists like Robert Hodgins.

She particularly enjoys sharing her knowledge through catalogue texts and in walkabouts and in advising clients on valuations and purchases, contributing to the appreciation of art and the excellent results achieved by Strauss & Co for its clients.

Image: Emma Bedford Photo: Dave Southwood