Stephan Welz and Co., in association with Sotheby’s, announces its forthcoming Cape Town auction of Decorative and Fine Arts which takes place on 27 & 28 May 2008. Over 1 000 lots of paintings, including several important repatriated paintings, furniture, clocks, carpets, silver, metalware, books, ceramics, works of art, glass, chandeliers, shipwreck artefacts and collectors’ items will be offered with a total estimate close on R20 million. They will be on exhibition for pre-sale viewing from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 May.
The sale boasts a wide selection of works by major South African masters and contemporary artists.On the evening of 27 May, Irma Stern’s “Cape Town Harbour” (R1 400 000 - R1 800 000) will go under the hammer. Whilst harbours were a recurring theme throughout her career, paintings of Cape Town Harbour rarely appear. Executed in 1956, a troubled year in international politics, Stern turned to depicting her surrounding environment. Using Expressionistic brush marks and cubist planes, the artist has created a bold statement. It is her sense of design and pattern, the confident brushstrokes and mapping out of shapes and forms as part of an overall style, which set Stern apart from her contemporaries.
The sale will also feature two works by Maggie Laubser, the first being a portrait of a Malay girl, “Maleiermeisie” (R400 000 - R600 000), where the contemplative sitter is captured with a sympathetic eye, reaffirming the artist’s outstanding ability to capture the spirit of the sitter. In contrast, “The Paw-paw Tree” (R280 000 - R320 000), is an atypical work, distinguished by the use of a different type of iconography and strong exotic colours.
Highlighting the works by Pierneef is “Extensive Landscape” (R600 000 - R900 000) which, as the title implies, depicts a particularly large, expansive and atmospheric landscape.
Following the record price achieved in the February 2008 auction for a painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff, the May sale will feature six major works by this artist, including an exotic portrait entitled “Fruits of Bali” (R250 000 - R350 000), the cover lot and, from a European collection, “Chrysanthemums in a dragon vase” (R200 000 - R300 000). Largely ignored by the Establishment during his lifetime, Tretchikoff found popularity among the proletariat many of whom were dedicated collectors of both his paintings and prints. Tretchikoff’s art is full of contradiction and has probably received more praise and criticism than that of any other twentieth century artist.
Four hitherto unseen works by Gerard Sekoto from a European collection, including a small and charming oil, “Girl sewing” (R150 000 - R200 000), should catch the eye of collectors of this artist’s works. The current owner befriended the artist in Paris in 1978 where he ran a bistro which Sekoto frequented. During this period the owner purchased a few works and also assisted him with small loans in exchange for artworks. In 1980 he moved to Le Panthéon and, although Sekoto visited him less frequently, it was during this period that the major works were added to his collection.
Following the record price of R154 000 achieved in February this year for Neville Lewis’ “Portrait of a Woman in a Green Dress”, over ten times its pre-sale estimate, this sale includes three further portrait studies: “Portrait of a Woman in a Yellow Headscarf” (R45 000 - R60 000), “The Lavender Sari” (R30 000 - R40 000) and “Portrait of a Xhosa Woman in Traditional Dress” (R60 000 - R70 000).
Edward Wolfe, whose output was limited and whose work rarely appears at auction, is represented by two works, “Dock Yard Reflections” (R25 000 - R35 000) and “Hermanus Seascape” (R10 000 - R15 000).
“The Creation” (R80 000 - R120 000), which was executed in 1966, is one of Alexis Preller’s “celestial works”. “In 1965 Preller had entered a phase of non-figurative expression. The dormant fascination of the planets was now rekindled, and using gold leaf to add brilliance to his swirling abstract forms, he produced a series of paintings based on astral themes.” (Esme Berman,).
Other celebrated artists featured are Adriaan Boshoff, (for whom a record was set recently in Johannesburg), Errol Boyley, Terence McCaw, Hennie Niemann, Conrad Theys, Stanley Pinker, George Pemba, Marjorie Wallace and Piet van Heerden.
A further press release covering other aspects of this significant two day auction will be published on this website on or before Friday 9th May 2008.