Namibian landscapes focus of virtual live sale

05 November 2021 | Art and Entertainment

South African artists have had a long romance with the uniquely distinctive Namibian landscape – the endless vistas, the crisp, clear light, and the enigmatic animal species that have adapted to the challenging environment.

In the upcoming Strauss & Co live virtual auction taking place on Sunday (7) and Monday (8 November), significant works by some of the most prominent 20th century South African artists will go under the hammer.

The unusually-shaped rocky outcrops of central Namibia, shaded in tones of lilac and pink in the hot, dry desert climate, are some of the artist JH Pierneef’s most favoured subjects, and the compelling oil painting, Marienthal SWA, lot 145, estimate N$200 000 - 300 000, is a standout example from one of the artist’s many visits.

Maud Sumner, a Johannesburg artist who lived much of her life in Paris, fell in love with the desert landscapes of the Namib and the cold Atlantic coast late in her career, and the cool blues and soft yellows of the work Walvis Bay, lot 43, N$150 000 - 200 000, is typical of this phase in her career. She sometimes took photographs of the area from the air to use as source material for paintings produced later back in her studio.

Cape artist Erik Laubscher was fascinated by unusual landforms and painted many views of the Overberg, the Sederberg, and, in southern Namibia, the Tandjieskoppe, near Karas. In lot 183, Eroded Rocks and the Tandjieskoppe, Namibia, estimate N$300 000 - 400 000, the artist delights in the contrast between the sharp, dark, chunky organic forms in the foreground, and the atmospheric light on the gently sloping conical hills in the distance. Gordon Vorster’s particular passion was herds of animals in the shimmering light of a desert pan – gemsbok, wildebeest and springbok. In lot 67, Etosha Sunset, N$25 000 - 35 000, antelope and wildebeest mill about in the orange glow of the hot late afternoon light.

These works and other 20th century and contemporary paintings, sculptures and works on paper will be offered for sale. The lots can be previewed on Strauss & Co’s website (