- R100 Strauss & Co Masterclass: Auction Mechanics
What happens behind the scenes in South Africa’s leading Fine Art Auction House? Bina Genovese and Vanessa Phillips tells us more about the global leader in the South African art market.
Vanessa’s first love in the art and antique field was ceramics. She joined Stephan Welz & Co, in association with Sotheby’s, as a ceramic specialist in 1987. Over the next two decades working with Stephan Welz she broadened her expertise to include furniture, silver and glass. In 2009 she joined Strauss & Co as an executive director and shareholder. Working with colleagues Stephan Welz, Bina Genovese and Ann Palmer, she established Strauss & Co’s Cape Town office. Vanessa is head of the decorative arts department, which includes furniture, silver, ceramics, glass and jewellery, and is actively involved in consigning both decorative and fine art pieces.
Her knowledge and insight has been key to ensuring Strauss & Co’s role in bringing important private collections to market. She has overseen the disposal of numerous important domestic collections, among them furniture from the historic Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West, formerly owned by the Phillips and Barlow families, and Keerweder, an 18th-century home in the Franschhoek Valley. Vanessa’s personal highlights from past sales include an 18th-century Cape coromandel and silver-mounted buffet, reputedly owned by Cape Governor Baron von Plettenberg and sold by Strauss & Co for over a million rand in 2009. She has been responsible for the successful sale of highly valued Cape silver and Oriental porcelain.
Vanessa was appointed joint Managing Director of Strauss & Co in 2016. She works out of our Cape Town office.