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Continued strength of African art market in 2022

With 6381 lots sold and 53 sales for over R1M, Strauss & Co has seen a continued expansion of art collecting on the African continent and increased global participation with 11% of buyers new to the auction houses, first-time buyers in 2022 and 60% increase in international purchasing over the past five years.

Irma Stern Dakar Woman SOLD R 10 469 600

Strauss & Co.’s annual sales show audience growth:

  • Buyers from 48 countries participated in the sales.
  • 60% more international buyers over 5 years.
  • 11% new buyers in 2022.
  • 2022 auction sales total R354M.
  • 6381 lots sold.
  • Demand for contemporary and ongoing re-evaluation of Africa’s modern artists.
  • Top selling artwork: Irma Stern Dakar woman1938

With a very healthy regional market and an ongoing focus on African art through the international art market, Strauss & Co has advanced its mission to connect with collectors by offering the widest range of art in the African market,” said Frank KilbournChairman of Strauss & Co.

With a strong list of upcoming activities, we are pleased that alongside strong sales and a growing customer base, we remain committed to the digital innovation and education and outreach programs that have always complemented our activities.”

Frank Kilbourn, chairman of Strauss & Co.

Highlights 2022

  • Demand for modern and contemporary artists at Strauss & Co continued as a curated, focused auction, with a focus on surrealism in May, abstract art in June and sculpture in November. Special sale in 2022 to artists Irma Stern, Robert Hodgins, William Kentridge, and JH Pierneef New and established regional and international buyers acquired works by artists who are currently being greatly upgraded.
  • Strauss is the leading art market platform for the secondary sale of works by William Kentridge, which received critical acclaim for exhibitions in Britain and America. Other artists who were in high demand were among them Amoako Boafo, Cinga Samson, Igshaan Adams, Yinka Shonibare and Michael Armitage among many whose secondary market values ​​are constantly growing. Zanele Muholi and Athi-Patra Ruga other names can be observed.
Athi-Patra Ruga The Future White Woman of Azania II Estimate R 180,000 – 240,000 Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa Auction – Cape Town, 28 February 2023.
  • works by artists were dedicated by an inaugural sale Irma Stern total R37M. The top lot was a 1941 portrait of a psychic wearing a pink headscarf from her golden days, which sold for R7.5m, also the top lot of the year. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye his work desires over needs was featured in Strauss’ acclaimed figuration and exhibition Portia Zvavahera whose work Pakatangira Rudo (Where Love Began), which sold for R352,780 in 2022, have also received increased attention.
Irma Stern Psychic: An Old Malay Woman SOLD R 7 510 800
  • Strauss’ entry into the Wine The auction market continued to expand with successful sales of European and ‘New World’ wines, as well as auctions dedicated to historic Cape wines and emerging wine brands, including organic and biodynamic producers. Highlights included rare branches and offerings from Kanonkop, Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Mullineux and Vilafonte. A rare pre-Rubicon Meerlust Red, 1978, sold for R15 242.
  • Sale of decorative arts and collections included targeted sales to ceramic artists and collectors, Juliet Armstrong, Hilda Ditchburn and Hylton Nel.
  • online sales, which takes place every month, also contributed R63.7 million in 2022 and included two NFT wine lots with a combined value of R2.3 million. (Vin de Constance and Rubicon)
  • Non-selling exhibitions, educational events and international reach included Giving direction: figuration, past and present in Cape Town and Invisible Dream Connections: Dorothy Kay and Mary Sibande in Johannesburg. International collaborations including the African Art Forum at the Venice Biennale and the launch of new Business News Digest, the African Art Newsletter, produced in collaboration with Art Market Minds.


Strauss’ new offices in Cape Town open this month to welcome visitors to Brickfield Canvas, the creative hub and technology campus at 35 Brickfield Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. Strauss will also launch a new Open Access art club every first Tuesday of the month, alternating between Cape Town and Johannesburg, to provide the opportunity to welcome new people, learn from specialists and enjoy personal hospitality.

  • A special public exhibition takes place in February celebrates the work of leading modernist sculptors, Ezrom Legae and Sydney Kumalo. The exhibition precedes the publication of the first catalog raisonné dedicated to these two internationally acclaimed South African artists.
  • In celebration of a busy Cape Town Arts Month in February, Strauss & Co also announces its sponsorship and support for the launch of a new Art Business Conference Africa, the first event of its kind on the continent. The event is co-sponsored by the founder of Africa First, Serge Tiroche and will take place on Wednesday February 15th and will cover the following topics: Panel 1 – The African Art Market Now: Art Ecosystems for a Sustainable Future and Panel 2 – Trends in African Art Collecting and What’s Next for Contemporary Art?
  • A new sales format starts next month Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa takes place on February 28th and will feature selected works by six leading curators from major arts hubs. Led by Strauss Co-Heads of Sales Kate Fellens and Kirsty College curators Dana Endundo FerreiraFounder and CEO of Pavilion54 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Heba Elkayal, independent curator and art historian based in the UK and Egypt, Danda Jaroljmek and Anne KarukiCircle Art Gallery, Kenya, Valerie Kabov, Director of First Floor Gallery Harare and South Africa Kimberly Cunningham, founder of Cunningham Contemporary, presents an auction showcasing a wide range of modern and contemporary art. Early highlights are works by contemporary artists Pierre-Christophe Gam, Cyrus Kabiru, Zanele Muholi, Simphiwe Ndzube, Thierry Oussou, Athi-Patra Ruga, Cinga Samson and Tafadzwa Tega.
  • Fund proceeds from sale a new internship program for the art market in primary/secondary education. The first of its kind in Africa, giving opportunity to a new generation of art specialists and curators by offering experience at the Strauss auction house in Cape Town or Johannesburg and exposure to primary market galleries such as First Floor Gallery Harare, which has committed to host the selected participant at its location in Harare.
  • Also in the Strauss March curated auction program is an auction in Cape Town with a special section dedicated to female artists.


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