Cape Town Beauty Queen Immortalised In Painting By Famous Artist

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A PAINTING by famous artist Vladimir Tratchikoff which portrays a young Cape Town woman is due to go on sale on Monday 11 May as part of a virtual auction being held by Strauss & Co.

In 1973, Ellen Peters, a young coloured woman from the Cape Town suburb of Kensington, where she lived with her parents and seven brothers and sisters, won Miss Africa South, the non-White equivalent of Miss South Africa (In those years, during the time of apartheid, non-white contestants were not allowed to compete in the Miss South Africa pageant and so had their own separate event).

The newly crowned beauty queen went on to represent South Africa (together with Anneline Kriel who was eventually crowned Miss World) at the Miss World pageant where she reached the semi-finals and was proclaimed ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ by the Cape Press, Radio and TV Club. At a celebratory ball Ellen caught Tretchikoff’s eye and he asked her to sit for this portrait, which is rendered in the style of his famous Balinese Girl.

Ellen’s life changed dramatically in the following years. She met and fell in love with an Israeli businessman and chairman of Friends of Lubavitch of Tel Aviv and married him after converting to Judaism and moving to Israel. Her happy marriage lasted three decades and after the death of her husband, she returned to her childhood home in Cape Town.

Her name is now Ilana Skolnik-Kazarnovsky, and she is a motivational speaker, who has shared her story of spiritual transformation with Jewish women around the world.

The painting of Ellen Peters forms part of an extensive auction and will go on sale alongside other masterpieces by artists such as Irma Stern, JH Pierneef, Maggie Laubser, Walter Battiss, Alexis Preller, William Kentridge and George Pemba (to name a few). Other items to expect on the auction include an exceptional selection of jewelry, English silver and furniture, continental and contemporary furniture, ceramics, glass, and covetable wines.

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Portrait of Ellen Peters

The two-day sale is Strauss & Co’s much-anticipated annual autumn auction, which will be conducted as a virtual auction and will begin on Sunday the 10th with a Bordeaux-themed sale of rare wines from South Africa and France.

Monday’s auction begins with an extensive selection of jewellery. Furniture that will be on sale includes antique Cape, Italian and French pieces as well as Danish and Italian contemporary items. Other lots include silk carpets, Chinese and South African ceramics, carvings and sculptures – to list only a small selection.

In addition to the above, Strauss & Co will be auctioning a rare selection of Dutch East India Company (VOC) collectables and a charming assembly of treen (small wooden domestic objects) collected by the late Lady Caroline “Ina” Magdalen Oppenheimer.

Sixteen superb works by Irma Stern will be featured on the auction and alongside these works, the sale includes seven extraordinary art pieces by Alexis Preller. The sale also includes 13 lots by JH Pierneef, and seven lots by Maggie Laubser. The works of many other renowned artists will also go under the hammer on the 11th, including signed and numbered Picasso etchings.

Strauss & Co has partnered with, the world’s leading international platform for buying art, antiques and collectibles online, to offer this auction virtually. The change in format was necessitated by the current Covid-19 outbreak. The cutting-edge virtual sale will replicate a physical salesroom, with Strauss & Co’s auctioneers conducting the auction live, in isolation. hosts hundreds of auctions and provides a fair, safe, public and accessible auction platform all year round,” says Strauss & Co chairperson Frank Kilbourn. “This partnership will expand our reach internationally, for the benefit of buyers and sellers alike.”

The contents of the upcoming virtual auction are live on the Strauss & Co website,, or browse the 276 page catalogue here: Prospective buyers can register online and it is possible to place bids now.

Strauss & Co is available to provide information about the upcoming lots, detailed condition reports via e-mail, face-time viewings of particular lots, one-on-one virtual meetings on a preferred platform and information about how to view and bid on the auction.

For more information call +27 (0)21 683 6560 or contact Bina Genovese at; 083 680 9944 or Mia Borman at; 084 685 1671.