Strauss & Co’s Property of a Johannesburg Book Designer sale, which runs from 1 to 8 March, is unprecedented in the premier auction house’s history. Featuring an eclectic array of paintings, prints, sculpture and furniture, and more than 100 rare and exciting art, design, photography and architecture books, the lots on sale come from the collection of an international, award-winning specialist designer active in the UK, South Africa and Southeast Asia over the last 35 years.
The covetable books, mostly grouped into bulk lots of up to 20, at rock-bottom estimates, are a dazzling collection that will appeal to art and book lovers alike. What other opportunity will there ever be to acquire a single lot of 8 collectable books on the work of iconic South African photographer David Goldblatt? or 11 books on British abstract modernist sculptor Sir Anthony Caro? or 9 seminal books of South African art market luminary William Kentridge? A few uncommon collectibles, such as Hockney’s Alphabet (David Hockney and Stephen Spender, Faber & Faber, 1991) and Battiss 75 (Murray Schoonraad and Pieter Duminy, D & S, 1981) are going on sale as stand-alone items, and a unique lot of 11 South African art books, signed by artists and authors including Cecily Sash, Alf Kumalo and Norman Catherine, is bound to attract energetic bidding during the week-long sale.
The art lots going under the hammer include a drawing by Alexis Preller of the African Slit Drum that appears in his major series of Kraal paintings executed in the late 1940s, and a select archive of Preller memorabilia including exhibition catalogues from 1947 and 1972 and the auction catalogues from the estate sales of the artist and his partner Guna Massyn in the 1970s, long with a pristine example of the deluxe Preller monograph Africa, The Sun and Shadows, signed by both the authors Esmé Berman, and Karel Nel. Master colourist Andrew Verster is represented in the sale by one of the hauntingly beautiful oil on canvas works from his immensely popular Fragile Paradise series.
Two standout works depicting horses by Noria Mabasa, doyenne of South African ceramic sculpture, are bound to attract private and institutional interest, and two unusual mixed media works by Joni Brenner indicate the depth of this thoughtful contemporary artist’s creative practice.
A collection of both large-scale exterior and diminutive table-top pieces by Cape-based abstract sculptor Rodan Kane-Hart that investigate the infinite possibilities of geometric composition will delight collectors familiar with his work and attract a myriad of new devotees. One of the works includes the publication Rodan Kane-Hart: At Work (Bad Paper, 2017) as a sculptural base. Other artists represented in the sale include Allen Jones, Henry Moore, Lucas Nkgweng, Richard Serra, Cecily Sash, Cecil Skotnes, Diane Victor and Edoardo Villa.
The Online-only sales opens on Monday 1 March 2021 at 8.00am and closes the following Monday 8 March at 8.00pm. The exhibition is open for viewing in Johannesburg at 89 Central Street, Houghton by appointment.