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Strauss & Co sets new world record for still life by Erik Laubscher
Posted on March 7, 2018.

Erik Laubscher, Still Life with Coffee Pot and Fruit, Sold R2 273 600

A bold and colourful Still Life with Coffee Pot and Fruit by Erik Laubscher set a new world record at Strauss & Co’s live sale in Cape Town on 5 March 2018, selling for R 2.273 million.

"Erik Laubscher is asserting himself as a force to be reckoned with," said Strauss & Co's chairman Frank Kilbourn. "We sold three works spanning a period of 46 years, from a sought after School of Paris still life from 1952 to a magnificent Winter Afternoon, Overberg landscape from 1998. Two of the three works sold for way above their top estimates, which is an indication of the robust appetite for Laubscher, a quintessential Cape artist."

A late-career Reclining Nude by Irma Stern from 1962 was the first work to surpass the million rand mark, selling for R1.136 million. Other important works sold in the evening sale included Gerard Sekoto's The Donkey Water Carrier (circa 1939), from the artist's formative Sophiatown period which sold for R1.079 million, and Alexis Preller's The Herald (1955), an intriguing collage of Egyptian and Beninese motifs laid down on a panel which fetched R1.023 million.

Another Cape artist to perform well was Peter Clarke, whose gouache, Tree, Eroded Bank and Birds, Teslaarsdal (1959), sold for R909 440. The headline result is consistent with the uptick in value of Clarke's work registered in 2017.

On a sale that generally favoured buyers interested in mid-range works, marquee lots by Walter Battiss, Gregoire Boonzaier, Adolph Jentsch, William Kentridge, Maggie Laubser, Dylan Lewis, Robert Hodgins, Hugo Naudé, George Pemba, JH Pierneef, Gerard Sekoto, Cecil Skotnes and Jean Welz all came within or just above their median estimates.

"Following on last year's exceptional performance, the R37.7 million we achieved on our current sale is a solid result", said Kilbourn. "With the R13.5 million generated at our exciting contemporary auction two weeks ago, Strauss & Co has sold over R51 million this year. This is a very satisfactory result given the uncertain economic and social climate."

The late-summer sale achieved R37.7 million in sales with a value sell-through rate of 80% for painting and sculpture.

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