South Africa’s Strauss & Co. held their Winter sale last night and pulled in a very healthy R89m or nearly $7m. The house sold 87% of the lots on offer further indicating the strength of the South African art market in the face of a broader weak economy and falling currency value.

The star lot of the evening was by JH Pierneef, whose work set a new record when the previously unknown painting, Farm Jonkershoek with Twin Peaks Beyond, Stellenbosch, sold well above the R6-8m estimate to make R20.46m ($1.6m) which also marked the second highest price for a painting sold at auction in South Africa.

Here’s Straus & Co’s recap of the sales action:

  • Pierneef dominated the sale: lot 14, a linocut titled Hardekoolboom, Transvaal (Nilant 74), came in at R193 256, way beyond R25 000 – R30 000 estimate. Bome (Nilant 75)which exceeded its R12 000 – R18 000 estimate by fetching R120 000. Lot 16, a third linocut, fetched R140 000, way above the high estimate. Extensive Landscape, Northern Drakensburg which fetched R3 410 400, and his Storm over the Lowveld brought in R1 250 480, well above the high estimate of R700 000.
  • Alexis Preller’s Still Life with Thangka and Pomegranates came in at number two of the night fetching a total of R7 502 880, above the high estimate R5 000 000.
  • Irma Stern, whose enigmatic portrait in oil, Malay Woman, fetched R5 456 640, beyond the given estimate of R3 000 000 – R4 000 000.
  • William Kentridge who held four places on the night’s top ten sales. His Dancing Couplebrought in R4 902 480 well above the given high estimate of R2 000 000, whilst hisUntitled Drawing Towards Responsible Hedonism performed similarly well, coming in at R3 978 800, comfortably between estimates.

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