Mon, 17th Jul 2017 17:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 121
Lot 121 - Peter Clarke(South Africa 1929-2014)


Peter Clarke(South Africa 1929-2014)
Figures on a path, Tesselaarsdal

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1960
Signature details: signed and dated 22.5.1960

Sold for R682,080
Estimated at R300,000 - R500,000

Condition Report


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.


oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1960
Signature details: signed and dated 22.5.1960


23.5 x 18.5 cm


A couple make their way along a country road, perhaps on a farm as the fields are fenced in and a whitewashed gable protrudes beyond the hill. Unlike some of Peter Clarke’s later works where displaced people trudge despondently, this pair feels at home in a leisurely rural landscape. The date of 1960 relates it to his many expeditions to Tesselaarsdal after Clarke had decided to become an artist in 1956. The date also reveals that it was painted before he worked briefly at Michaelis in late 1961, and then travelled abroad to the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. So some might feel surprised at his bold reduction of form and awareness of the picture plane, reflected in the tipped-up road that provides a foil for the figures – characteristics that seem too assured to be the work of a ‘naïve’ artist with no formal tuition. They demonstrate that Clarke had already established his painting style before he experienced fine arts training.Clarke’s determination to become an artist saw him studying art early and independently. As far back as his schooldays, when the art teacher gave promising pupils access to his copies of The Studio, Clarke was looking at examples of ‘modern art’ in the colour plates. Later he subscribed to journals himself, visited exhibitions in Cape Town, and read art books in ID Booksellers – while avidly drawing and painting the local scene. Magpie-like he collected different ideas and experimented with them, but soon developed his iconic personal style. Clarke’s subject matter always came from the world he knew, but he gave the everyday a sense of robust resilience through the simplified forms, strong outlines and dense colour areas that lend a tangible substance to his paintings. In Figures on a path they create a timeless pastoral world where the sun perpetually shines.

Elizabeth Rankin

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Mon, 17th Jul 2017

Aspire Art Auctions’ second Johannesburg sale offered a selection of some of the best works produced by local and international artists available on the local market. Offerings included Cameroonian-born, Belgium-based, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Chilean, Eugenio Dittborn, and South Africans, William Kentridge, Kendell Geers, Louis Maqhubela, Cecil Skotnes, Maggie Laubser, Irma Stern, and Mohau Modisakeng, amongst others.

The sale was led by an international auction record of R1 200 320 achieved for a drawing, Children under Apartheid, by exiled South African artist Dumile Feni, as well as the successful sale of top international lot Golden Mask by renowned performance artist Marina Abramović. 


Friday 14 July 2017 | 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday 15 July 2017 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 16 July 2017 | 10 am – 4 pm

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