Strauss & Co sale reveals links between the Venice Biennale and South African art, as the art world converges on Venice

Strauss & Co is delighted to announce details of its Venice Biennale-themed online auction, which will be open for bidding from April 14-25, 2022. Scheduled to coincide with the launch of the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale at the end of April, and Strauss & Co’s sponsorship of the African Art Forum in Venice 2022 at the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal on April 20 and 21, the sale sheds much-needed light on the historic relationship between this premier international event plan and South African art.

Peter Clarke; Landskap meets Kleinhuisie, Teslaarsdal (sic)
R150,000 – R200,000

“The Venice Biennale is an important event in the world art calendar, which always arouses great excitement, perhaps even more so this year after its interruption by the Covid-19 pandemic”, says Jean le Clus-Theron , senior art specialist at Strauss & Co in charge of organizing the April online sale. “It’s personally exciting to present a sale around an event like the Venice Biennale. This allows Strauss & Co to provide context to our buyers, especially regarding the many artists in the catalog who have exhibited at this prestigious event.

Maggie Laubser; Portrait of a young woman (with long loose hair and white pearls),
40,000 – 60,000

Consisting of eight sessions, the online-only sale will feature two sessions dedicated solely to Venice-related art. The opening session will present a chronological selection of artists who exhibited at the Venice Biennale between 1950 and today. The opening session of the Venice Biennale includes important Venice alumni such as Walter Battiss, Maggie Laubser and Peter Clarke, all early participants in this biennial event. The session is particularly rich in works from the 50s and 60s.

Phumulani Ntuli; At the edge of the hill,
R20,000 – 30,000

The sale also includes pieces by Malcolm Payne, who exhibited in Venice in the 1990s, as well as works by recent exhibitors like Willem Boshoff, Wim Botha and Penny Siopis. Roger Ballen and Phumulani Ntuli, who are participating with Lebohang Kganye in the South African pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year, have works of art in the sale.

Roger Ballen; Embalmed, 2011,
R25,000 – 35,000

High-value lots from the Venice Biennale session include Walter Battiss Abstract with Ndebele patterns (estimate R200,000 – 300,000) and the glass installation by Wim Botha in 2016 Prism 24 [Ecstatic] (estimate R250,000 – 350,000). Strauss & Co’s April online auction will be supported by an informative e-catalogue exploring the history of South Africa’s participation in the Venice Biennale with a foreword written by the Senior Scholar. art Matthew Partridge.

The second session will feature works by artists who have explored pictorial subjects inspired by their experience of visiting Venice, including Robert Gwelo Goodman, Hugo Naudé and Terence McCaw. Venice-Inspired Session Highlights Include Boonzaier Grand Canal, Venice from 1992 (estimate R35,000 – 50,000) and undated by the French painter Marc Aldine Venetian Canal (estimate R60,000 – 80,000).

Wim Botha; Wim Botha; Prism 24 [Ecstatic]with glass installation,
R250,000 – 350,000

Strauss & Co is proud to be the main sponsor of the 2022 edition of the African Art Forum in Venice, a public and free discursive event presented every two years in Venice during the preview week of the Venice Biennale. Founded in 2017, speakers at this year’s event include renowned artists, museum curators and dealers from Africa and its diaspora. Among them are the artists of the South African pavilion 2022, Roger Ballen and Lebohang Kganye. Strauss & Co will host a live stream of the two-day forum in Johannesburg on April 20-21.

Ahead of the official opening of the Venice Biennale and the African Art Forum in Venice, as well as the launch of Strauss & Co’s online thematic auction, Strauss & Co has organized a series of webinars educational programs that you can access on our Strauss & Co YouTube channel to watch the recorded series.

Strauss & Co’s April online auction will include a session dedicated to ceramics and sculptures. Notable lots on offer include a casting from the Massa Foundry of Anton van Wouw’s iconic piece The Hammer Worker (estimate R220,000 – 280,000) and the bronze of Gerard de Leeuw Sangoma (estimate R80,000 – 120,000), from the collection of Professor Leon Strydom. The catalog includes a selection of ceramics from the Sheila Nowers collection with original pieces by Hylton Nel.

Strauss & Co’s April online sale of modern, post-war and contemporary art coincides with two separate sales presented by its decorative arts and wine departments. The decorative arts department will present a collection of Asian art from a single owner. The three sales are taking place in parallel and will end at different times on Monday, April 25, 2022.

To view the sale: