CityLife Arts

Strauss & Co’s diversified offering draws international collectors to its April sale

By CityLife Arts Writer

Two South African auction stalwarts, Anton van Wouw and JH Pierneef, topped the rankings at Strauss & Co’s first virtual-live sale of 2021 when prime examples of their work traded hands for R5.1 million each. The sale earned a total of R 59.376 million.

Held in Cape Town over three consecutive days, the hybrid sale attracted over 700 in-person, telephone and online bidders from more than 20 countries.

 Frank Kilbourn, Strauss & Co’s chairperson says: “There was a strong performance on the lot sell-through rate (80.55%) and the value sell-through rate (82.53%) in most sessions of the sale which is encouraging in the present circumstances. The art market is still processing the social and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The volume of new bidders and buyers was especially heartening. I attribute this to the quality, range and depth of our offering and the international reach we have achieved through our alliances with global platforms.” 

Adds Kilbourn: “Strauss & Co’s first sale in 2009 included historical paintings and sculpture, furniture, silver and ceramics. These categories remain central to our value proposition, but we have significantly expanded our proposition. Our two-year-old wine department is doing an excellent job profiling South Africa’s best wines. We have also significantly grown our art department.

Strauss & Co is committed to expanding the contemporary art componenent of the business and was the first auction house in South Africa to sell a photograph for more than R1million. We are continuing to see consolidation and growth in this emerging category. The Banksy, Mr Brainwash and Larry Rivers lots in our April sale further point to the broadening of our offering as well as client base. Strauss & Co has made great strides in becoming a diversified auction house based in South Africa with an international client base.

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