Strauss and CO. achieves over R350 million worth of art sales in 2022

By CityLife Arts Writer


• Buyers from 48 Countries Participated in Sales
• 60% increase in International Buyers over 5 Years
• 11% New Buyers in 2022
• 2022 Auction Sales Total R354 Million
• 6381 lots sold
• Demand for Contemporary and Continued Reappraisal of Africa’s Modern Artists
• Top Work of Art Sold – Irma Stern’s Dakar Woman, 1938
NEW at STRAUSS & CO for 2023
• New Premises Open in Cape Town
▪ New Auction Format Collaborating with Leading African Curators
• New Exhibition and Education Programs including Art Club
• Strauss To Sponsor Inaugural African Art Business Conference
Africa’s leading art auction house, Strauss & Co, announces 2022 sales totaled R354 million/US$20.6 million, the second highest annual total to date. Selling 6381 lots sold and 53 selling for over R1 million, Strauss & Co saw continued expansion of collecting art across the African Continent and increased global participation with 11% of buyers new to the auction houses participating for the first time in 2022 and a 60% increase in international buying over the last five years.
“With a very healthy regional market and ongoing focus on African art by the international art market, Strauss & Co have advanced their mission to engage with collectors by offering the broadest range of art to the market in Africa,” said Frank Kilbourn, Chairperson, Strauss & Co. “With a strong roster of upcoming activities, we are pleased that alongside strong sales and a growing client base, we remain committed to digital innovation and the educational and outreach programs that have always complemented our activities.”

• Demand for Modern and Contemporary artists at Strauss and Co continued as curated, focused auction included a focus on Surrealism in May, Abstract Art in June and on sculpture in November. Dedicated sales during 2022 to artists Irma Stern, Robert Hodgins, William Kentridge and J.H. Pierneef saw both new and established regional and international buyers acquire works by artists currently being significantly reappraised.
• Strauss is the leading art market platform for secondary sales of works by William Kentridge, who received critical acclaim for exhibitions in UK and America. Other artists that were highly sought after included Amoako Boafo, Cinga Samson, Igshaan Adams, Yinka Shonibare and
Michael Armitage among many whose secondary market values are consistently growing. Zanele Muholi and Athi-Patra Ruga are other names to watch.
• Works by women artists were led by an inaugural sale devoted to Irma Stern totalling R37 million. The top lot was a 1941 portrait of a Clairvoyant wearing a pink headscarf from her golden period that sold for R7.5 million, also the top lot of the year. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye whose work Wishes Above Needs was featured in Strauss’ acclaimed exhibition around Figuration and Portia Zvavahera whose work Pakatangira Rudo (Where Love Began) sold for ZAR 352,780 in 2022 have also been receiving increased attention.
• Strauss’ entry into the wine auction market continued to expand with successful sales offering wines from Europe and the ‘New World’ as well as auctions devoted to Cape heritage wines and up-and-coming wine brands, including organic and biodynamic producers. Highlights included rare verticals and offerings from Kanonkop, Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Mullineux and Vilafonte. A rare pre-Rubicon Meerlust Red, 1978, sold for R15,242.
• Decorative arts and Collections sales included a focused sale on ceramicist creators and collectors, Juliet Armstrong, Hilda Ditchburn and Hylton Nel.
• Online sales, held each month, also contributed R63.7 million in 2022 and including two NFT wine lots totaling r2.3 million. (Vin de Constance and Rubicon)
• Non-selling exhibitions, educational events and international outreach included Giving Direction: Figuration, past and present in Cape Town and Dream Invisible Connections: Dorothy Kay and Mary Sibande in Johannesburg. International collaborations including the African Art Forum at the Venice Biennale and the launch new business news digest, the African Art Newsletter, produced in conjunction with the Art Market Minds

Strauss’ new offices in Cape Town open this month to welcome visitors at Brickfield Canvas, the creative hub and technology campus located at 35 Brickfield Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. Strauss will also launch a new open access Art Club on the first Tuesday of each month, alternating between Cape Town and Johannesburg to provide an opportunity to welcome new people to learn from specialists and enjoy in-person hospitality.
• A special public exhibition will take place in February celebrating the work of leading modernist sculptors, Ezrom Legae and Sydney Kumalo. The show precedes the publication of the first catalogue raisoneé devoted to these two internationally celebrated South African artists.
• To coincide with a busy art month in Cape Town in February, Strauss also announce their sponsorship and support of the launch of a new Art Business Conference Africa, the first event of its kind on the Continent. The event is co-sponsored by Founder of Africa First, Serge Tiroche and takes place on Wednesday, February 15th and will cover the following topics: Panel 1 – The African Art Market Now: Art Ecosystems for a sustainable future and Panel 2 -Trends in Collecting African Art and What’s Next for Contemporary?
• A new sale format launches next month -Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa takes place on 28 February and features selected works by six leading curators from important art centres. Lead by Strauss’ Co-Heads of Sale Kate Fellens and Kirsty Colledge , curators Dana Endundo Ferreira, Founder and CEO of Pavilion54 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Heba Elkayal, independent curator and art historian, based between UK and Egypt, Danda Jaroljmek and Anne Kariuki, Circle Art Gallery, Kenya, Valerie Kabov, Director, First Floor Gallery Harare and South Africa’s Kimberly Cunningham, Founder of Cunningham Contemporary will present a sale that showcases a broad selection
of modern and contemporary art. Early highlights include works by contemporary artists Pierre-Christophe Gam, Cyrus Kabiru, Zanele Muholi, Simphiwe Ndzube, Thierry Oussou, Athi-Patra Ruga, Cinga Samson and Tafadzwa Tega.
• Proceeds from the sale will fund a new Primary / Secondary art market internship program. The first in Africa of its kind, giving opportunity to a new generation of art specialists and curators by offering experience at Strauss auction house in Cape Town or Johannesburg and exposure to primary market galleries, such as First Floor Gallery Harare, who has committed to host the selected participant at their Harare location.
• Also upcoming in Strauss’ program of curated auctions in March is a Cape Town sale with a special section devoted to women artists including.

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