The star of the show at Strauss & Co’s winter sale held at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg was undoubtedly JH Pierneef, when a new all-time world record was set by his previously unseen painting, Farm Jonkershoek with Twin Peaks Beyond, Stellenbosch.
It shattered its estimate of R6 million to R8 million by fetching a mammoth R20.4 million.
This is the second highest price ever achieved for a painting sold at auction in South Africa.
The night also saw Strauss & Co top their own record of R73 million in sales achieved in March this year at their Cape Town auction, with a total of R89 million and an 87% sell-through rate by lot and value combined.
Chairperson Frank Kilbourn said: “Tonight proved conclusively that South Africa is the most appropriate place to sell high-quality local artwork – be it historic or contemporary masterpieces.
“This reaffirms Strauss & Co’s position as the global leader for South African art.”
From the outset Pierneef dominated the sale when lot 14, a linocut titled Hardekoolboom, Transvaal (Nilant 74), came in at an astounding R193 256, way beyond the estimate of R25 000 to R30 000.
This was followed by another, Bome (Nilant 75), which exceeded its R12 000– R18 000 estimate by fetching R120 000.
A third linocut fetched R140 000.
Another high performer was his Extensive Landscape, Northern Drakensburg which fetched R3.4 million, while his Storm over the Lowveld brought in R1.2 million, well above the estimate of R700 000.
Alexis Preller’s Still Life with Thangka and Pomegranates came in at number two, fetching R7.5 million.
In third position was Irma Stern, whose enigmatic portrait in oil, Malay Woman, fetched R5.4 million.
As a testament to Stern’s desirability was the sale of her Original Manuscripts for Congo and Zanzibar which feature her sketches, photographs, hand-writt en and typed correspondence.
Estimated at between R30 000 and R50 000, this lot went on to fetch R227 360 .
William Kentridge held four places on the night’s top ten sales. His Dancing Couple brought in R4.9 million, while his Untitled Drawing Towards Responsible Hedonism fetched R3.9 million