Strauss & Co pays tribute to …



A sumptuous portrait of Alexis Preller and a stunning collection of Linn Ware lead Strauss & Co’s offering in its next virtual live sale on Tuesday August 10, 2021. This concise sale of works assembled by two discerning collectors will begin with a morning dedicated to the David Collection Hall of Linn Ware, a highly collectable South African pottery brand. It will be followed by three sessions composed of works from the Professor Leon Strydom Collection, including exceptional paintings by Maggie Laubser, Stanley Pinker and Irma Stern.

Professor Leon Strydom is a household name in Afrikaans literary and artistic circles. Born to George into a family interested in art, Strydom first gained fame as an award-winning literary scholar and poet. After retiring from academia, he returned to George, where his brother, Matthys, had established the Strydom Gallery as a family-owned furniture store in 1968. The gallery was renowned for its annual summer exhibition.

“Throughout his academic life, Professor Strydom has constantly surrounded himself with art and artists,” says Matthew Partridge, senior art specialist at Strauss & Co who cataloged the Strydom collection. “The gallery provided him with a way to formalize this passion. He drove famous from province to province in his bakkie, visiting artists and finding work for the gallery. Strydom gained a unique vision that he would later share with budding collectors, including future Strauss & Co chairman Frank Kilbourn.

Encompassing painting, sculpture, print editions, ceramics, Cape furniture, rugs and specialist books, the Strydom Collection offers a broad survey of South African art and design. Significant lots of great value include two European seascapes by Maggie Laubser and Irma Stern, as well as two period paintings by Alexis Preller and Stanley Pinker which appear on the front and back of the catalog respectively.

by Preller shepherd (also known as Boy with a flute, estimate R1.5 – 2 million) is dated 1962 and represents the highest value individual lot available for sale. Preller’s stylized depiction of a young man is likely one of two works of the same title that featured in the artist’s much-anticipated exhibition at the Pieter Wenning Gallery in Johannesburg in 1962, after a period of retirement to work on a large public commission. more pink JOKO (rolling hoop, estimate R400,000 – 600,000) mixes Cubist and pop influences in a scene of two children dressed in Victorian finery playing in a rural South African landscape.

Herd keeper (Boy with the flute), Alexis Preller

The expressive landscape of Laubser Garda lake (estimate R300,000 – 500,000) dates from a 1921 visit to this Italian lake with the son of his benefactor. The eye-catching work features simple and bold color combinations. stern Madeira portrait (estimate R300,000 – 500,000) was painted a decade later, in 1931, during a major three-month working trip to the Portuguese enclave of Madeira. Stern’s colorful study testifies to his remarkable ease with gouache.

Lake Garda, Maggie Laubser

Collector David Hall has spent six decades assembling Linn Ware, a renowned collector’s item linked to the emergence of an authentic South African design style after union. The origins of this workshop originated in the opening, in 1925, of Ceramic Studio in a former Olifantsfontein pottery belonging to Sir Thomas Cullinan. Ceramic Studio has built a reputation for its high quality ceramic tiles, as well as home ceramics and tableware marketed as Linn Ware (also known as Linnware). The company changed its name to Linn Ware in 1942.

“The timeless beauty of Ceramic Studio and Linn Ware pottery work lies in their exquisite glazes and classic shapes,” says Riana Heymans, ceramic expert at the National Museum of Cultural History in Ditsong and co-author of the recent book. Olifantsfontein Pottery 1907-1962. Commenting on the 45 lots in the David Hall Collection from Linn Ware, Heymans adds, “In my opinion, this is a superior and representative collection, built with love over a long period of time. I especially appreciate the wonderful selection of colorful plates.

The Hall collection consists of four sets, consisting of Linn Ware plates in different colors, including an assembled set of seven enamel dinner plates and a separate set of eleven enamel dessert plates (estimate R5,000 – 7,000 each). Composed of skilled artists, mostly women, Linn Ware excelled in the production of collectible “art pottery”. The sale contains fine examples, such as a large dish and bottle vase in celadon enamel (estimate R10,000 – 15,000) and a large blue and lime enamel vase (estimate R8,000 – 10,000).

Strauss & Co is delighted to also offer a lime green enamel vase 1940s stamped Ceramic Studio (estimate R6,000 – 8,000). Artists like JH Pierneef and Erich Mayer visited Ceramic Studio frequently in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In a 2006 essay, art historian Eunice Basson describes how Pierneef became keenly interested in the design of the hand-painted tiles produced by the studio for the new Johannesburg station and frequently visited the Olifantsfontein studio with the station’s architect, Gordon Leith.

The Strydom collection includes a watercolor by Mayer and Pierneef. Dated 1919, Farm in Landscape (estimate R10,000 – 15,000) reveals Pierneef’s sensibilities for perspective and design, while that of Mayer Wolkstudie, Barberton (estimate R2 000 – 3000) was painted with his extremely confident hand in 1932. Other landscape artists represented in the collection include Walter Meyer and Frans Claerhout, with whom Strydom collaborated on the book Die Sonnevanger (The Sun Catcher, 1983). Strydom has published four books, including two collections of poetry.

As a collector and art dealer, Strydom showed a keen interest in the human figure. The Strydom collection includes the collection of Jean Welz Bathers and the bridge (300,000 – 500,000 R), a romantic evocation of leisure painted in 1954; Dorothy Kay’s study of toil in a salt reserve, salt (estimate R100,000 – 150,000); a carved, incised and painted wooden panel by Cecil Skotnes entitled Awakening (estimate R200,000 – 300,000) which represents a vigil; a rare oil from 1989 by Deborah Bell titled Confession (estimate R120,000 – 180,000) which features two lovers entwined; and Robert Hodgins’ sardonic portrayal of an egg-headed schoolboy accompanying his plump mother, A widow and she Son (estimate R120,000 – 160,000).

Portrait of Madeira, Irma Stern

“Strydom would insist that a work of art must confront the viewer in order to disrupt our accepted ways of seeing, forcing you to scratch below the surface and make you come back to look,” says Matthew Partridge. “His collection was also very sculptural, with pieces in bronze and wood by David Brown, Norman Catherine, Sydney Kumalo, Lucas Sithole, Edoardo Villa and Gavin Younge. There is also a portrait of the collector’s father, Manie Strydom, by Gerard de Leeuw. The collection is unique, a collector’s collection. DM




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