Record art sales in South Africa

Strauss & Co, South Africa’s leading auction house, achieved R195.9 million in sales of art for the period January to June 2019.

The March sale in Cape Town became the first-ever art auction in South Africa to earn more than R 100-million when it netted R 107-million.

Strauss & Co’s two benchmark live sales in Cape Town and Johannesburg together netted R 168 million – about 85% of the half-year turnover.

Irma Stern cemented her status as the most sought-after South African artist at auction, topping both the Cape Town and Johannesburg sales.

The top-performing Stern lot, Arab, a previously unrecorded portrait of an Omani nobleman from the court of the Sultanate of Zanzibar, sold for R20 484 000.

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Anton van Wouw’s only known bronze maquette of statesman Paul Kruger, cast by the Roman foundry of Giovanni Nisini, sold for R10 469 600, a new world record.

Athi-Patra Ruga’s The Night of the Long Knives I, a colour photograph of a balloon-clad figure astride a zebra, sold for R1 707 000, becoming the first photograph to sell for more than R1-million at auction in South Africa.

The top-selling wine lot was a Jaubert Family Muscat d’Alexandrie 1800, South Africa’s oldest wine, which sold for R51 210.

Photo: Irma Stern is the leading South African artist in terms of value of artwork.

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