The top lot was a mesmerising oil from Preller’s celebrated Seychelles period, ‘Head (Adapting Itself to the Unendurable)’ from 1949, which sold for R7 055 600. A museum-quality drawing by William Kentridge, ‘Deep Pool’ (1996), from his Colonial Landscapes series, was the auction’s second biggest lot and the top earner in the contemporary art category, selling for R3 414 000.
The auction generated overall sales of R56 milion with a sell-through rate of 74 percent. The result was the eighth highest combined result for a live sale since Strauss & Co launched in 2009 – a remarkable feat in a challenging economy. The next Johannesburg sale will be on 12 November, and will include a curated section titled ‘Neglected Tradition’ that will draw collector attention to the depth and breadth of South African art from the twentieth century.