Snap up a masterpiece

Irma Stern | Arab | signed and dated 1945 oil on canvas, in the original Zanzibar frame 63 by 52,5cm excluding frame; 76,5 by 65cm including frame | R 12 000 000 – 16 000 000

Strauss & Co is pleased to announce a weeklong public showcase of important artworks from its forthcoming Cape Town sale at Morkel House in Stellenbosch. This extraordinary display in one of South Africa’s oldest buildings runs from 4 to 8 March and will include museum-quality works by Irma Stern and Alexis Preller.

Stern is South Africa’s most prized painter at auction. The display at Morkel House, established in 1694 opposite the present Mother Church and now a national monument, includes three portraits from Stern’s acclaimed Zanzibar period – all of them from eminent private collections.

Irma Stern | Meditation, Zanzibar | signed and dated 1939 oil on canvas 99 by 93cm | R 15 000 000 – 20 000 000

Offered from the Late Sol Munitz Collection, Stern’s The Mauve Sari (estimate R13-17 million) was painted in 1946 following the painter’s second visit to the sultanate in 1945. Commenting on this work, art historian Sandra Klopper praised its “daring juxtaposition of vibrant colours”.

Painted in 1945, Arab (estimate R12-16 million) is also from the Munitz Collection and one of only four such portraits by Stern known to exist. This regal portrait depicts a nobleman from the court of the ninth Sultan of Zanzibar.

Irma Stern | The Mauve Sari signed and dated 1946 oil on canvas | 78 by 78cm | R 13 000 000 – 17 000 000

Stern first visited Zanzibar in 1939. Meditation, Zanzibar (estimate R15-20 million) dates from this period and portrays a young veiled woman. Consigned from the Shill Collection, the portrait evidences Stern’s intrigue with the ascetic lifestyle of Zanzibar’s Muslim inhabitants.

Also from the Shill Collection, Alexis Preller’s Collected Images (estimate R7-9 million) is a seminal work by this highly regarded artist. Painted in 1952 and illustrated on the cover of Esme´ Berman and Karel Nel’s 2009 monograph of the same name, Collected Images depicts a cabinet with 18 compartments and is a resonant catalogue of the artist’s key metaphors.

Alexis Preller | Collected Images (Orchestration of Themes) signed and dated ’52 oil on canvas 61 by 76cm | R 7 000 000 – 9 000 000

Originally a wine cellar before it was converted into a homestead, Morkel House is a fitting venue for Strauss & Co’s week in Stellenbosch. The exposed wood beams in the kitchen strike a natural dialogue with earthy tones and domestic subject matter of Cecil Skotnes’ Kitchen Still Life (estimate R450 000 – R600 000) and Erik Laubscher’s Still Life with Jug, Bowl and Fruit (estimate R600 000 – R800 000), also among the works on display.

Strauss & Co’s week in Stellenbosch includes a complementary education programme, with public lectures by company art experts Wilhelm van Rensburg (Tuesday, 5 March at 1pm) and Alastair Meredith (Wednesday, 6 March at 1pm).

Morkel House is located at 6 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch.
Strauss & Co’s March sale takes will take place on Monday 18 March at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town.

Visit for further information or call Gera on 072 697 3129.

About Strauss & Co:
Strauss & Co is South Africa’s leading auction house and the global leader for South African art. It was founded in 2009 by a consortium of business leaders and industry experts, including the late auctioneer Stephan Welz, Elisabeth Bradley, Dr Conrad Strauss, Vanessa Phillips, Ann Palmer and Bina Genovese. Frank Kilbourn, a respected entrepreneur, philanthropist and art collector, was appointed Executive Chairperson in 2016. Strauss & Co has the highest market share amongst the four leading auction houses specialising in South African art globally. In 2017 the company’s turnover totalled R329 million – a sum unrivalled by any auction house dealing in South African art in a single year. Strauss & Co annually holds five live auctions, three in Cape Town and two in Johannesburg, and up to eight online-only auctions. Strauss & Co was awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Premier Award at the 2018 annual BASA Awards for its sustained and extraordinary commitment to the arts in South Africa.

Strauss & Co Board of Directors: Frank Kilbourn (Executive Chairperson), Vanessa Phillips and Bina Genovese (Joint MDs), Elisabeth Bradley, Dr Conrad Strauss, Caro Wiese, Carmen Welz, Susie Goodman and Jack Ginsberg