Spotlight on KZN artists

STRAUSS & Co is returning to the Hilton Arts Festival this year with a multifaceted presence that includes putting a number of important KwaZulu-Natal artists in the spotlight.

The leading South African fine art auction house will be exhibiting works by well-known KZN artists, including Dr Valerie Leigh (former curator of Pietermaritzburg’s Tatham Art Gallery), Susan Davies, Louise Hall, Anna Alcock, Rauri Alcock, Celeste Matthews and Andrew Verster. The works are all drawn from Strauss & Co’s upcoming online auction which runs concurrently with this year’s festival.

Opening at 8 am on Monday, September 10 and closing at 8 pm on Monday, September 17, September’s online auction includes a fantastic selection of works on paper by the likes of Cecil Skotnes, Douglas Portway and William Kentridge, while a highlight of the sale is undoubtedly a large linocut, The Tree of Life, by master printer and artist John Moore.

Among the works by international artists on online auction are highly collectible multiples by English artist Henry Moore, as well as multiples by Alexander Calder, one of the first artists to put movement into sculpture and a globally acknowledged creator of affordable prints and multiples.

In addition to the exhibition of selected works from September’s online auction, the Strauss & Co team of art experts will be conducting obligation free valuations during the festival. Art owners are invited to bring their paintings, works on paper and sculptures to Strauss & Co’s main hub in the History Room, in the Centenary Centre, for valuation.

As part of Strauss & Co’s ongoing commitment to education and demystifying of the auction world, the auction house will take part in The Hilton Arts Festival’s talks and lecture programme.

Senior art specialist Dr Alastair Meredith will give a free lecture, titled The Intrigue of Alexis Preller, on September 15 at 2 pm in Lecture Theatre B. Dr Meredith’s fascinating lecture traces the development of the artist’s style — as well as his unique, complex symbolism — from his tentative beginnings in London to his last major show at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

Often described as South Africa’s most important post-war painter, the lecture will conclude with an examination of the current Preller market, in the context of the eye-watering prices that the artist continues to fetch at auction.

On Sunday, September 16, at 10.30 pm, Dr Meredith and the Strauss & Co team will give another lecture, aimed at those who want to enter the art market. It Is entitled Do you know your Gavel from your Paddle, A Picasso from a Pierneef? This talk and mock auction will help demystify a process that can be intimidating — and will also introduce the role of Strauss & Co’s online auctions as a way of increasing inclusivity and accessibility for buyers.

Strauss & Co is an acknowledged pioneer of the online auction platform in South Africa, with its inaugural digital sale having taken place in 2013. Since moving into the online auction space in 2013, Strauss & Co Online has built a platform that is easy to use, with buyers able to navigate sales from the comfort of their homes during the week-long period of the sale.

The platform contains a wealth of information about bidding online for novice buyers and those new to the online format. In this way, Strauss & Co’s online auctions are playing an important role in the support of new buyers.

You can browse, bid, or buy the unique items for sale online from Strauss & Co by going to

For more information on Strauss & Co’s exhibition, valuations and lectures at The Hilton Arts Festival contact Susie Goodman at

The Hilton Arts Festival runs from September 14 to September 16 at Hilton College. — Supplied.