17th Jul, 2017 17:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 124
Lot 124 - Sam Nhlengethwa (South Africa 1955-)


Sam Nhlengethwa (South Africa 1955-)
Retrospect I, diptych

oil and collage on canvas

Artwork date: 2007
Signature details: signed and dated; signed and inscribed with the title on the reverse

Sold for R204,624
Estimated at R180,000 - R240,000


oil and collage on canvas

Artwork date: 2007
Signature details: signed and dated; signed and inscribed with the title on the reverse


180 x 240 cm


Sam Nhlengethwa’s work refuses stereotypes. It continually stretches boundaries, creating new pictorial vistas. From his early political art to his recent homage pieces, Nhlengethwa’s oeuvre has tested the limits of his mediums, and unprecedentedly constructed intricate ways of seeing space, people and things – in its own ways, calibrating a sensibility both aesthetical and archival.As an avid collector of art, jazz records and other collectables, invoking Steve Biko’s idiom Nhlengethwa is fondly known to collect what he likes.[i] Retrospect 1 formed part of his Tributes show in 2008, in which the artist cleverly pays tribute to various South African artists by inserting images of their works within his own. Many of them have passed away, have been forgotten or are unknown, but Nhlengethwa’s atavistic summoning lures them back into the world – embodying them.This mixed media piece creatively sets up an hallucinogenic effect from which layers of histories of art can be gleaned. Like a griot or praise poet, Nhlengethwa, through this work, performs the act of ancestral worship, conjuring artistic spirits – not as proxies but as constituent elements of his imagination. He says: ‘Throughout the years, all my pieces have dealt with the movement of people. I enjoy paying homage to people and places through my art (Mutumba & Ngcobo 2015:??). Integral to the collage form, this openness to things, people and places has proven to be the work’s gift and power. Taught by the likes of Bill Ainslie from the well-known Johannesburg Art Foundation and in Rorke’s Drift, Sam Nhlengethwa is an award-winning artist who has become one of the most exciting and iconic figures in South African art.

Athi Mongezeleli Joja


Biko, S. (1978) I Write What I Like: Selected Writings by Steve Biko. SASO newsletter.

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, 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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