Historical Exhibition At Strauss & Co Adds To Buzz Around Art Week Joburg 2019

Strauss & Co is pleased to announce details of its pop-up exhibition, Neighbours: Some African Modernists, a selection of twentieth-century modernist art from southern Africa. Noteworthy artists from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland) and Zimbabwe have been selected for this non-selling exhibition, which will hosted at Strauss & Co’s offices in Houghton, Johannesburg.

The exhibition runs from 10 to 19 September 2019 and coincides with Art Week Joburg (AWJ), a vibrant annual festival of art held in various venues across the city. Strauss & Co is proud to partner with LATITUDES, the new, pan-African art fair taking place during AWJ at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton from 13 to 15 September, and will be hosting talks there and at its Houghton offices.

Neighbours: Some African Modernists is a response to heightened international interest in contemporary art from the continent, as well as growing demand from buyers and collectors keen to learn more about historical lineages of this art, in particular the modernist art that emerged in the decades 1950 to 2000. “The exhibition shows the long history and context of practices from southern Africa,” said Wilhelm van Rensburg, a senior art specialist with Strauss & Co.

With the assistance of Hollard Seguros and Itoo Artinsure, Neighbours: Some African Modernists will feature artworks from various private collections across southern Africa. A private collection in Maputo has loaned works by acclaimed Mozambican painter Malangatana Ngwenya and his compatriot, Pancho Guedes, an influential architect, sculptor and painter born in Portugal, who was also the head of the department of architecture at Wits University for a time. John Muafangejo, internationally recognised for his woodcut prints, will feature alongside fellow Namibians, Adolph Jentsch and Fritz Krampe, both born in Germany. The exhibition will also feature works from a private South African collection of abstract paintings produced in Zimbabwe in the 1980s.

The local market for art from southern Africa still has great potential for growth. While artists like Adolph Jentsch and Fritz Krampe are established figures at auction in South Africa­ – Strauss & Co has sold 46 lots by Jentsch, achieving combined sales of R10.3 million – works by artists such as John Muafangejo come up far less frequently. One work by Malangatana Ngwenya from 1967-69, Crowd of Beasts, fetched R51 156 at a Johannesburg sale in 2016.

“Our aim as South Africa’s premier auction house is to develop the connections with artists, galleries and museums in our neighbouring countries, in order to gain greater insight into the art-historical context of the exciting modernist period in global art history. At the same time, Strauss & Co will do what it is good at: locating extraordinary treasures from private collections across southern African and promoting them to collectors and the art-interested public,” explained Strauss & Co executive director Susie Goodman.

Neighbours: Some African Modernists, Strauss & Co’s museum-quality exhibition of twentieth-century art from southern Africa, will be on view at 89 Central Street, Houghton, from 9.00am to 4.30pm from 10 to 19 September 2019.

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