Strauss brings modern and contemporary art to NAF


Former director of the Cape Town Art Fair and founder of contemporary art journal Adjective Matthew Partridge is in Grahamstown to answer all the questions you ever had about modern and contemporary art (yes they’re different…). He’s the curator of Strauss & Co’s exhibition of modern and contemporary art in the Alumni Gallery of the Albany History Museum at this year’s National Arts Festival. The exhibition is a “highlights” package from works on offer at the company’s forthcoming sales.

Grocott’s Mail spoke to Partridge on the eve of the opening of the 44th edition of the National Arts Festival. He’d arrived early on Wednesday, had more or less completed hanging the exhibition of “Eleven specially selected works – for the 11 days of Festival!”. He’s here partly to promote art auction house Strauss & Co’s second contemporary art auction in February 2019 – “The only standalone contemporary art sale in South Africa,” Partridge says.

His mini walkabout with Grocott’s Mail on Wednesday (video below) reveals him to be a walking catalogue of information about art in general, and contemporary art in particular. He’s a former art critic for the Mail & Guardian, and lectured at Art History at Rhodes University in 2010, running a post-graduate seminar program focusing on South Africa photography.

Erik Laubscher’s Storm Oor Die Land van Waveren. Signed, dated 1993 and inscribed with the title on the reverse. Oil on canvas, 64 by 99cm.

JH Pierneef’s Landscape with Trees. Signed and dated 1916, it is pastel. 45 by 69cm.


The exhibition includes two pastels by much-loved landscape painter and auction stalwart JH Pierneef, an interior scene by pioneering New Group painter Freida Lock and a stirring Cape landscape by the late modern Erik Laubscher. Works by contemporary artists Matthew Hindley, Banele Khoza, Mary Sibande, Minnette Vári and Diane Victor are being shown in conjunction with these recognised past masters.

Mustafa Maluka’s You Say the Things You Think You Have to Say, signed and dated ’08 on the reverse. Acrylic, oil and spray paint on canvas, 182.5 by 132.5cm – to be sold at Strauss & Co in February 2019.

The contemporary selection also includes a large-scale portrait by painter Mustafa Maluka, which will go on offer at Strauss & Co’s specialist contemporary art auction in February 2019. Successfully inaugurated this past February, Strauss & Co’s contemporary art sale is the first sale of its kind in South Africa dedicated only to contemporary art.


Matthew Partridge speaks about Diane Victor’s ‘Teaching Hyenas to Sing’ (signed, smoke and chalk pastel, 98 x 145cm) at the Alumni Gallery, Albany History Museum, where he was hanging the exhibition on Wednesday 27 June. Photo: Sue Maclennan



Matthew Partridge will host public walkabouts of the exhibition on 29 and 30 June, in both instances at noon, and again on 6 July at 4pm. Partridge will also present a public lecture in the NELM Seminar Room at the Monument on 6 July at noon. His lecture forms part of the National Arts Festival’s Think!Fest programme and looks at aspects of South Africa’s thriving secondary market, notably the growth of contemporary art at auction.

Matthew Partridge’s walkabout with Standard Bank Young Artist winner Igshaan Adams of his exhibition Dust Settles, on Tuesday 3 July at 12.

The exhibition is open 9am-5pm daily in the Alumni Gallery at the Albany History Museum.

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