Sun, 25th Mar 2018 18:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 114
Lot 114 - Sydney Kumalo (South African 1935–1988)


Sydney Kumalo (South African 1935–1988)

Cast by Egon Guenther.

Artwork date: 1966
Signature details: signed with the artist's initials and numbered I/X
Literature: Watter, L., Toerien, H. and Duby, G. (eds.). Our Art 3, Sydney Kumalo. Pretoria: Lantern, illustrated on p.72 where it is incorrectly titled Leopard II.

Sold for R545,664
Estimated at R300,000 - R500,000

Condition Report

Recently cleaned, good.

Please note, we are not qualified conservators and these reports give our opinion as to the general condition of the works. We advise that bidders view the lots in person to satisfy themselves with the condition of prospective purchases.


Cast by Egon Guenther.

Artwork date: 1966
Signature details: signed with the artist's initials and numbered I/X
Literature: Watter, L., Toerien, H. and Duby, G. (eds.). Our Art 3, Sydney Kumalo. Pretoria: Lantern, illustrated on p.72 where it is incorrectly titled Leopard II.


14 x 33 x 15 cm

Purchased in the 1970s by Dr BH Holsboer, the former Managing Director of Nedbank, and thence by descent.


Sydney Kumalo is an alumnus of the historic Polly Street Art Centre where he studied under Cecil Skotnes from 1953, and with sculptor Edoardo Villa in 1958–59.Their respective influence is palpable in Kumalo’s approach to form. This bronze sculpture titled Leopard rings with a register, of his lifelong fixation with both the human form and that of beasts – real and imagined. He often created work that fused the two in abstracted motifs. Abstraction allowed Kumalo the technical licence of going into mythology. His treatment of the leopard subject is an example of this. He renders the beast not as we know it, but as it may appear in folklore or myths. This is not the leopard of nature nor the zoo, but of nightmares and folktales. In classic Polly Street style it wrestles with incorporating both African and European traditions of sculptural sensibilities.Kumalo often returned to the same motif multiple times to reimagine its form. This sculpture titled Leopard is one of a few “leopards” he created with variation in style and composition. This “Leopard” was cast by Egon Guenther in 1966 in an edition of 10. Guenther had cast another larger Kumalo leopard, which he called "Black Leopard", in 1961/1962).It can be compared with another less stylised and less fanciful leopard bronze sculpture titled The Leopard cast in 1961, which sits in the Standard Bank corporate collection.Kumalo approach was to model his sculptures in terracotta and cast them in bronze. This gave his works a plasticity hard to achieve by other means. The exaggerated muscle curvature and the rhythm in the naïve and childlike approach to proportions on this this leopard betrays the clay beginnings of the work.

Percy Mabandu

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Sun, 25th Mar 2018

Aspire Art Auctions brought a unique offering to their second auction in the Cape allowing buyers to add quality and rarity to their collections.

Headlining the success of the auction was as a rare intaglio by Alexis Preller, Gold Angel (Arêté), which sold for R4 638 400. The piece was part of Preller’s last body of work shown at the Goodman Gallery in 1975, and took its place alongside the sale of his mid-period work, the exquisite small study Still life with Vase and Carved Head, which sold for R811 720. Other auction highlights included work by contemporary artists Robert Hodgins, Athi-Patra Ruga, Zander Blom, and Penny Siopis and sculpture by Deborah Bell, Willem Boshoff, Wim Botha, and Amadlozi alumnus Sydney Kumalo.


Friday 23 March 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 24 March 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 25 March 2018 | 10 am – 3 pm

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