Important South African & International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery:

14 March 2016, Cape Town


Bad Man tops great sale

At Strauss & Co’s auction yesterday Robert Hodgins’ roguish Bad Man with Great Threads sold for R2,4 million, more than 3 times the presale estimates.

Works by Hodgins dominated the top ten lots of the sale reaffirming this artist’s pre-eminence in the art market. Strauss & Co holds the world record of R2,6 million for Hodgins. The sale achieved a market-leading sell-through rate of 84%, and a total of R42 million. South Africans flocked to the preview and saleroom and bid enthusiastically throughout the sale. There was also plenty of interest from international buyers who took full advantage of the favourable exchange rates, not least the top quality items on offer.

Treasures once part of the historic Vergelegen estate in Somerset West achieved a total of close on R2,4 million. The rare pair of Cape Neoclassical side tables sold for over R700 000. A single owner collection of fine Cape silver had a 100% sell-through rate and achieved over R1,1 million.

An astonishing result was achieved when ten international bidders vied on the telephones for a group of Persian paintings by the Russian artist Paul Mak which sold for R932 000. Following the auction, Dendy Easton, visiting auctioneer and well-known personality from the BBC Antiques Road Show, commented: This exceptional result underscores Strauss & Co’s power to exploit the internet to reach a global audience.

Walter Battiss’s Red Rock rocked the auction room when it achieved over R1,8 million, Maggie Laubscher’s Birds and Boats reached close on R1,5 million, followed by Irma Stern’s Ndebele Woman mixed media that sold for over R1,1 million. The sale featured a number of major works by William Kentridge which were snapped up by collectors.

These results are proof of the continuing excellence and resilience of Strauss & Co’s team in combating a volatile market.


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Image: Robert Hodgins, Bad Man in Great Threads (detail shown here), 1997. Sold for R2,4 million