Press Release For Immediate Release
Stephan Welz & Company, in association with Sotheby’s,
2009 Summer Sale of Decorative and Fine Arts
Stephan Welz & Company, in association with Sotheby’s, will hold their 2009 Summer Sale of Decorative and Fine Arts at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens on 24 and 25 February 2009. The sale, which includes over 600 lots, will be on view to the public from 20 to 22 February 2009.
The items scheduled to go under the hammer include an important early still life by Erik Laubscher, a William Kentridge charcoal from the mid-eighties, two important works from Maurice van Essche’s Fisher Folk series, no less than seven fine examples by Moorcroft, a collection of Rorke’s Drift pottery including works by Dinah Molefe and a wonderful set of eight silver dinner plates by Paul Storr, amongst other items.
Ian Hunter of Stephan Welz & Company says: “Every auction has a distinct identity, the February 2009 sale is no exception in that it showcases a rich variety of traditional and contemporary South African Art.”
Mid century Erik Laubscher masterpiece, “Still Life with Mandolin, Music Score and Fruit” (estimate R200 000 – R300 000) is a fine example of the artist’s work produced on his return to South Africa in a strong Parisian language. While in Paris, Laubscher studied under Fernand Léger and it was this influence, as well as that of John Minton, Alfred Krenz and Maurice van Essche, that we see in this painting. In this work Laubscher flattens the picture plane depicting the surfaces without any perspectival recession. While the formal style may be post-Cubist, the monumentality of the work and the boldness of colour indicate the principles learned under Léger - contrast, dissonance, interaction and the juxtaposition of complementary colours. While the style and compositional elements may attest to Parisian trends, the sensuous and robust application of paint may be attributed to the influences of his first mentor, van Essche. This painting was a gift from the artist to the current owner and has remained until now in a private European collection.
Gregoire Boonzaier’s “Still Life with Fruit, Tankard and a Jar” (estimate R150 000 – R200 000) dating from 1953, painted a year after Laubscher’s masterpiece, showcases the artist’s fascination with Cezanne and the Post Impressionists. Continuing the still life theme is the vibrant “Still Life with Spring Flowers” (estimate R60 000 - R80 000) by Alfred Neville Lewis.
Two Maurice Van Essche paintings from his sought after Fisher Folk series, “Carrying the Day’s Catch” (estimate R275 000 - R350 000) and “In the Twilight” (estimate R200 000 – R300 000), will also be going under the hammer in the evening session of this sale. “Carrying the Day’s Catch” uses the signatory palate of van Essche’s Congo period as well as the sublimated features, thus rendering the subjects of these paintings to motifs- symbolic of the dehumanization of exhaustive repetitive labour. “In the Twilight” is a more contemplative and romantic image. In this composition the strong rhythms created in “Carrying the Day’s Catch” are forgotten and the focus is rather on the encapsulation of a moment. In Our Art II, Professor J. Trumpelman states: “our attention [is] firmly upon the theme of the work [its] grandeur [and] simplicity”.
Hugo Naude features prominently with four landscape paintings most notably the Slade School inspired “The Peak, Groot Drakenstein” (estimate R140 000 – R180 000). The other works include “The Studio Garden” (estimate R150 000 – R200 000), a freshly painted view of the artist’s garden in Worcester, “A Cottage Beneath the Mountains” (estimate R120 000 – R160 000) and “In Basutoland” (estimate R50 000 – R70 000), a lovely example of the artist’s plein air work.
Two early Maggie Laubser paintings “A Barge on the Canal” (estimate R180 000 – R240 000) and “Woman with Headscarf” (estimate R250 000 – R350 000) are representative of two of her most “return to themes” in her career; ruralscapes and portraits. The somber palate of the portrait is thrown into relief against the lighter tempo of the barge scene despite the latter having been painted in 1918 during Laubser’s time at The Slade. Laubser’s works during this wartime period were executed plein air and have a remarkable freshness and impressionistic lyricism in their approach.
Three rare Terence McCaw portraits; “A Bearded Basuto Man“, “A Basuto Man in an Orange Blanket” and “Portrait of a Young Man” (estimated at R50 000 – R70 000 each). These early works keep good company with other portraits notably a François Krige oil "Krisjan” (estimate R140 000 – R180 000) and Gerard Sekoto’s watercolour titled “Man with a Pipe” (estimate R140 000 – R180 000).
A fine Adriaan Boshoff painting “The White Handkerchief”, (estimate R600 000 – R 800 000) showcases the artist’s virtuosity as both landscape painter and portraitist. The artist’s treatment of the family group in this work is strongly reminiscent of Renoir and Pissarro and confirms the artist’s place as one of South Africa’s greatest “Impressionists”. Boshoff said about his own work, “I want to capture fleeting moments before they disappear forever”.
Two major William Kentridge drawings “The Collectors” (estimate R350 000 – R450 000) and “Nude in a Landscape” (estimate R150 000 – R200 000) feature prominently in the Contemporary Section. They, along with a unique subject from Cecil Skotnes, “The Birds” (estimate R350 000 – R450 000), an incised and painted panel, will attract the usual interest, together with one of his most sought after students, Ephraim Ngatane’s evocative portrayal of “The Family” (estimate R200 000 – R300 000).
Hunter continues: “Abstract art has shifted emphasis globally and sales dedicated to this non figural and representational language have strengthened with the philosophical re-interpretation our times have brought to the past.”
A striking repatriated Douglas Portway will be available to collectors with an interest in abstract representation, “The Red and Mauve” (estimate R200 000 – R300 000). Portway, represented in his lifetime by the Marjorie Parr Gallery in London, is held in the same regard as many of the great British Modernists such as Ivor Hitchens, Ben Nicholson, Victor Pasmore and John Piper.
Hunter concludes: “As visual languages go, there are many to choose from; with styles as diverse as personality types.”
The discerning collector desiring signature pieces in order to complete a home or collection, will not be disappointed. The luxurious nature of the mid 20thcentury Tabriz silk rugsigned “Sadagioni”, North West Persia (estimate R100 000 – R150 000) should elicit competitive bidding. Amongst the clocks and barometers is the unusual Provincial Mahogany Angle Barometer (estimate R30 000 – R40 000) from the 18th century with weather indications from Stormy to Drought.
An ornately carved and richly detailed pair of oak Burgomaster chairs(estimate R40 000 – R60 000) from the 19th century, will provide Colonial-era signature accents for the discerning buyer. In keeping with items of Colonial origin, is an Indian Ebonised Sandalwood folding writing table (estimate R6 000 – R8 000), the whole profusely carved with scrolling foliage as well a pair of ebony and mother-of-pearl inlaid side chairs (estimate R5 000 – R7 000).
Cape furniture enthusiasts will have the opportunity to acquire an early 19th century Cape neo-Classical Stinkwood, Teak and Fruitwood Rusbank(estimate R30 000 – R40 000) originally housed at Vredenhof in Rosebank, Cape Town. Included amongst 19th century Cape items are a Cape Rooiels, Witels and Stinkwood Inlaid Side Cupboard (estimate R70 000 – R90 000), a West Coast Cedarwood and Brass-Mounted Kist(R20 000 – R30 000) and a Cape Stinkwood and Rooiels Cupboard (estimate R40 000 – R60 000)
Twentieth century pieces, increasingly popular at auction, are well represented by items ranging from an elegant Italian 1970s chaise longue designed by Le Corbusier (estimate R10 000 – R15 000), another 1960s example of a Chrome and Bear-Skin covered chaise longue (estimate R9 000 – R12 000), and a striking pair of Italian black leather, Perspex and aluminium sofas by Doimo (estimate R15 000 – R20 000).
A group of five shipwreck items from H.M.S. Birkenhead wrecked off Danger Point on the 26th February 1852 will attract interest from collectors.
The Birkenhead secured a place in history due to the gallantry of her men who were ordered to stand fast in order to secure the safety of the women and children who were being rowed to shore in the lifeboats. 445 souls perished in this tragedy, but the Birkenhead drill - women and children first - became a norm in nautical practice. These items, all gun-metal, are accompanied by South African Heritage Resource Certificates.
The items of English and Continental silverware ranging from 1703 through to the late 1990s will please collectors. One of the earlier pieces was crafted by Paul Storr, widely regarded as one of the greatest silversmiths of all times. The Set of Eight George IV dinner plates (estimate R120 000 – R150 000) dating from 1827 gives enthusiastic collectors of fine silver a rare opportunity to acquire pieces by a craftsman whose work is housed in major private and museum collections around the world. Other fine pieces include; A George IV two-handled pedestal dish by Robert Hennell II 1821 (estimate R18 000 – R24 000), a Victorian inkstand by Charles Reilly and George Storr 1847 (estimate R15 000 – R20 000), and a Victorian silver-gilt water jug by Robert Hennell (estimate R24 000 – R28 000). Novelty items include a Mappin and Webb Electroplate and Amber-Glass Novelty Honey Pot in the Form of a Bee (estimate R3 000 – R4 000) and a charming Silver Stork ribbon threader (estimate R1 500 – R2 000).
English ceramics make an exotic showing with a Clarice Cliff ‘Latona Bouquet’ pattern part tea service (estimate R7 000 – R9 000). William Moorcroft, and his son, Walter, are represented by seven pieces from the 1940s and 1950s. These pieces are decorated with recognizable patterns such as ‘Orchid’, ‘Anenome’, ‘Hibiscus’ and ‘Spring Flowers’. South African ceramics include items from the Linnware Studio and a collection of Rorke’s Drift potterymost notably items by Dinah Molefe; a large Rorke’s Drift stoneware two-handled vase, 1970s (estimate R3 000 – R4 000) and a Rorke’s Drift stoneware pot, 1976 (estimate R1 200 – R1 500). Oriental ceramic highlights include a Chinese Blanc de Chine Figure of a Seated Official, Qianlong, 1736 – 1795 (estimate R6 000 – R8 000). This figure is modelled wearing a long flowing robe decorated with a dragon, and is seen holding a ruyi sceptre in his left hand. Ever popular Chinese blue and white ceramics include 19th century wares: a Chinese blue and white ‘dragon’ bowl, Guangxu, 1875-1908 (estimate R6 000 – R8 000) and a pair of Chinese blue and white teabowls, Guangxu, 1875-1908 (estimate R3 000 – R4 000).
These and other items are scheduled to go under the hammer on
24 and 25 February 2009.
For enquiries and catalogues please contact our Cape Town office on (021) 794 6461.
Tuesday 24 February 2pm and 7pm
Wednesday 25 February 10am
Old Mutual Conference and Exhibition Centre
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Newlands, Cape Town
Friday 20 February 10am to 5pm
Saturday 21 February 9am to 2pm
Sunday 22 February 10am to 5pm
Press Enquiries and Images:
Tel: + 27 (0)21 794 6461
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