Home Art sale Pierneef, one of the top ten African artists at auction, gets his own sale at Strauss & Co in July – Ridge Times

Pierneef, one of the top ten African artists at auction, gets his own sale at Strauss & Co in July – Ridge Times


Will be held in Johannesburg on July 12, 2022the catalog of this specialized sale includes two exceptional oils from 1936 and 1954, as well as a complete range of linocuts, etchings, drawings, watercolors and caseins.

“Collectors have shown great interest in our artist-focused niche sales,” says Alastair Meredith, Head of Art Department at Strauss & Co. takers, which is a tremendous statement of their collectible appeal and character. It’s clear from the global response to our first Pierneef sale in 2021 that his stylized take on the landscape has broad appeal.

A recent report on the African art market published by London-based research firm ArtTactic places Pierneef among the top ten African artists sold at auction between 2016 and 2021. Pierneef earned $12.9 million from 361 lots, much of this volume being managed in South Africa. The best-selling African artist is Marlene Dumas, followed by Irma Stern.

Pierneef’s travels across the African continent form the basis of the flagship lots for the upcoming sale. A frequent visitor to Namibia, his portrait of the Erongo Mountains (estimate R2 – 3 million) is dated 1936. The oil has excellent provenance, being officially owned by the famous Schweickerdt family of art dealers and patrons based in Pretoria . There is also a large work which is inspired by Pierneef’s last trip to Zanzibar in 1954. It depicts an architectural element of Mbweni, a town on the Tanzanian island of Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar (estimate R3 – 4 million).

Interest in Pierneef’s brand of romantic modernism and adventurous inquiry crosses ages and collector profiles. The composition of the next sale will be attractive to a variety of collectors. In addition to an impressive offering of his signature oils, there is a strong selection of his popular linocuts, some rare etchings, as well as drawings, watercolors and caseins that testify to Pierneef’s refined notation skills.

The sale is supported by an e-catalog which will focus on individual works. Works from this sale will be exhibited at Strauss & Co’s Houghton Gallery in the two weeks leading up to the sale. With the world largely back to in-person contact, Strauss & Co encourages collectors to attend its program of educational talks and walks. It also invites bidders to immerse themselves in the excitement of live bidding in the auction room.


Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, born in the Highveld in 1886, is perhaps South Africa’s most iconic landscape painter. Having developed an unmistakable and economical aesthetic during the first half of the 20th century, his images, whether described as startlingly beautiful, willingly experimental, nostalgic or gently monumental, are familiar to generations of South Africans. Extremely prolific, the artist was equally at home working in oil, gouache, watercolor and casein, while the prints he produced, both linocuts and etchings, remain as influential as they are collectible.

It goes without saying that Pierneef has attracted the attention of eminent art historians and critics; thanks to the emotional charge of his images and the historical context in which they were produced, his career has also been widely discussed in socio-political terms. A recent major retrospective at the Standard Bank Gallery – curated by Strauss & Co’s Wilhelm van Rensburg – has shed new light on the artist’s imagination, range and decorative appeal, and sealed his position as the one of the masters of the country.

To view auction lots: www.straussart.co.za