Strauss & Co, the global dominant reseller of works by multi-disciplinary South African artist William Kentridge, confirms new report

By CityLife Arts Writer

As William Kentridge’s bumper year of global museum exhibitions engages new audiences, and ahead of sales of works by the artist at Strauss & Co in Johannesburg (3 – 9 November), a new international report identifies Strauss & Co as art market leader selling works by William Kentridge.

  •  Strauss & Co offers exclusive insight from global museum curators involved in showing work of William Kentridge in a new series of online conversations from London, Los Angeles and Milwaukee.
  • Wide selection of highlights to be offered by Strauss & Co in Johannesburg from 3 to 9 November 2022 with prices ranging from R 20,000 – R 4,000,000 ($1,100 -220,000)

Ahead of upcoming sales in Johannesburg(3-9 November 2022), Strauss & Co will host a series of events to celebrate William Kentridge. 

These include a new collaboration with London-based art intelligence consultancy Art Tactic to share their in-depth market report on Kentridge, demonstrating the breadth of his work at auction and significant price shifts. In addition, an exclusive discussion with high-profile museum curators involved in Kentridge exhibitions in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles and Milwaukee, giving unique international perspectives on his work will be launched online today.

William Kentridge – growing global recognition 

An interdisciplinary artist whose diverse output encompasses drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture, film and theatre, William Kentridge has participated in over 700 exhibitions globally since his debut exhibition in 1979. The vast majority of Kentridge’s exhibitions (84% according to Art Tactic) have been held in non-commercial settings in museums and non-commercial galleries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Trade in his work is nonetheless brisk. 

Kentridge is represented by four pedigreed commercial galleries, all with formidable global footprints, and has a solid track record in the secondary market. His work has earned R376/ $20.4 million from 703 lots sold at auction between 2016 and 2022, according to Art Tactic’s September 2022 report on Kentridge. This single-artist report identified Strauss & Co as the largest reseller of Kentridge’s work at auction globally in the period 2016 to September 2022. 

“William Kentridge is a prolific South African artist whose works transcend boundaries,” says Dr Alastair Meredith, Strauss & Co, Art Department Head of Department. “Strauss & Co is proud to have handled the largest number of Kentridge works sold globally, namely 657 works since 2010, on the secondary market totalling R150 / $8.3 million and representing 52% of all works sold on auction, with a sell through rate of 86%.” 

Upcoming Kentridge Works for Sale at Strauss & Co in November 

Leading the selection of two-dozen collectable works on paper by William Kentridge in Strauss & Co’s November sale is a process drawing from his 2011 animated film Other Faces (estimate R3 – 4 million/ $165 000 – 221 000). The film forms part of Kentridge’s much talked-about museum survey at London’s Royal Academy of Art (RA). Strauss & Co is pleased to be offering the woodcut Mantegna (estimate R800 000 – 1.2 million/ $44 200 – 66 470), another edition of which is currently on view at the RA. 

Coinciding with the artist’s broad global 2022 exhibition schedule – including at the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg (in July), Warehouse Art Museum in Milwaukee and Royal Academy in London (current) and The Broad Museum in Los Angeles (opens in November) – Strauss & Co is pleased to present an exclusive online discussion exploring the challenges and benefits of curating and sharing Kentridge’s work. Convened by Strauss & Co senior art specialist and head curator Wilhelm van Rensburg, the webinar features contributions by, among others, the RA’s chief curator Adrian Locke and The Broad Museum’s curator Ed Schad.  

William Kentridge at Auction 

In the most recent Art Tactic Art Market Confidence Survey in July 2022, Kentridge ranked 11th in its short-term confidence reading of Contemporary artists at auction, placing him just behind blue-chip artists Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz. Experts surveyed by Art Tactic further believe Kentridge’s market will be of high importance in the long-term – he is ranked 9th in Art Tactic’s Top 35 Long-term Artist Longevity Indicator, near Marlene Dumas and Jeff Koons. 

Importance of Community  

Adds Wilhelm van Rensburg: “Beyond the market appeal of this artist, William Kentridge remains hugely active in the local artist community in South Africa, with the Centre for the Less Good Idea as well as education initiatives supporting future printmakers such as Artist Proof Studio, of which Strauss & Co is proud to support. Among the Kentridge lots we are offering in our November sale is an edition of the impressive aquatint etching Refugees(You Will Find No Other Seas),produced in 2018 by Artist Proof Studio (estimate R600 000 – 800 000/ $33 225 – 44 200).”

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