Love is a strong theme at Bonhams' South African Art auction

Here's another look at the next sale of South African Art at Bonhams on October 26 in London. It will offer three works by the country's major artists, Stern, Pierneef and Preller.

Pierneef's work depicts a landscape he loved - Kransberg near Rustenburg in the Transvaal. This image recalls Cezanne's tribute to Mont Saint Victoire, and is estimated to sell for £400,000-600,000.

"Far deeper ... than the professional delight of the painter's eye in colour, form and line of the landscape, there lies hidden in Pierneef that filial feeling, that adoration of our ground; it is the secret flame that gives to his ripest works their intrinsic eloquence," once commented art critic and writer, J.F.W. Grosskopf, about Pierneef.

According to Bonhams' experts, this artist recast the way in which we see Africa.

Of Pierneef's 1950s landscapes Anton Hendriks wrote: "Pierneef painted Africa. His landscapes were different from anything seen in paint before. Baines, Oerder and others had painted the same scenes, but Pierneef saw them with new eyes.


Pierneef's painting of Kransberg near Rustenburg in the Transvaal

"He created a new style out of this new subject matter." He demonstrates the beauty of nature's architecture and the way in which it enthrals him."

With Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966) the love and passion are linked to that rare thing in her work, a portrait of a man.

In 'Portrait of a man wearing a hat' signed and dated 'Irma Stern 1931', estimated to sell for £350,000-500,000, we see Stern exploring something of her own heartache.

Several works from her time in Madeira are among her darkest, in particular her views of harlots and other societal outcasts, and reflect the emotional upheaval Stern was experiencing at the time - unhappily married, reckoning with the memory of her Portuguese lover, Hippolyto Raposo, and perhaps not warmly welcomed by the locals.

Despite this Stern painted some of her best works during her time in Madeira, in particular bright landscapes and portraits of men which celebrate the light, colour, and simple way of life of Madeira.

No doubt, there'll be plenty of life at Bonhams' sale on October 26.


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