Mon, 27th Mar 2017 15:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

 
Lot 129
 
Lot 129 - Albert Adams (South Africa 1929-2006)

129

Albert Adams (South Africa 1929-2006)
Untitled (Four Figures with Pitchforks)

charcoal and chalk on paper

Artwork date: circa 1995
Exhibited: Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Albert Adams: Journey on a Tightrope, 19 July to 26 October 2008. SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, Albert Adams, The Bonds of Memory, 9 April to 21 May 2016.
Literature: Martin, M. & Dolby, J. (2008). Albert Adams: Journey on a Tightrope. Cape Town: Iziko Museum of Cape Town, illustrated on p.39.

Sold for R136,416
Estimated at R60,000 - R80,000


Condition Report

Conserved, paper reinforced in areas, minor tears to edges, minor paper discolouration at top edges, minor surface dirt, pinholes in corners and minor cockling. Framed with non-reflective, UV-resistant museum glass.

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.

 

charcoal and chalk on paper

Artwork date: circa 1995
Exhibited: Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Albert Adams: Journey on a Tightrope, 19 July to 26 October 2008. SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, Albert Adams, The Bonds of Memory, 9 April to 21 May 2016.
Literature: Martin, M. & Dolby, J. (2008). Albert Adams: Journey on a Tightrope. Cape Town: Iziko Museum of Cape Town, illustrated on p.39.

(1)

101 x 68.5 cm

Notes:

After completing high school, Albert Adams applied to the Michaelis School of Fine Art, but was refused entrance because of the colour of his skin; he went to work as a window dresser and qualified as a teacher at Hewat College.Grants from the Cape Tercentary Foundation enabled him to study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London (1953-1956) and thereafter a scholarship took him to the University of Munich and master classes with Oscar Kokoschka in Salzburg.He returned to Cape Town where he exhibited widely and to critical acclaim, and represented South Africa internationally, but in 1960 he settled in London. He first taught at schools and then lectured in art history at the City University in London.Adams was 21 years old when he created Untitled (Four figures with pitchforks). It reveals the instinctive expressionism, charged with deep social awareness and commitment, which would characterise his work throughout his life. At the time he was friends with German collectors Siegbert Eick and Rudolph Von Freiling and he saw superb graphics by Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt and the German Expressionists at their home. Käthe Kollwitz’s protest against social injustice and empathy for the poor and oppressed made a lasting impression on him and her influence is clear in this drawing.A diagonal surge culminates in the overlapping pitchforks, but the movement is countered by the figure in front who stares at the spectator, thereby implicating him or her in the scene. They are crowded on top of the picture surface and the sense of urgency is intensified by the stylisation, chiaroscuro and the density of the chalk. Landscape and context are absent and they become metaphors for individuals labouring or rebelling in apartheid South Africa or anywhere in the world. It is an iconic image imbued with the power of his early religious drawings, such as Pietà in the SABC Art Collection.Adams was a modernist and expressionist, but he remained spiritually and politically contemporary.

Marilyn Martin

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Mon, 27th Mar 2017

The Inaugural Cape Auction offed a diverse range of top-quality historic, modern and contemporary works. With a focus on critically engaged art and a curated approach, seasoned and new collectors competed to acquire significant works.

Aspire’s commitment to the growth of the art market saw international records broken in recognition of exiled South African artists. Louis Maqhubela’s Exiled King, a definitive, politically motivated work, sold for R341,040 - three times his previous record, and Albert Adams’ Untitled (Four Figures with Pitchforks), his first appearance at auction, sold for R136,416. Top prices were also achieved for established artists including J.H Pierneef, William Kentridge, and Edoardo Villa, and contemporary artwork fared exceptionally with record prices for David Brown, Steven Cohen, Mohau Modisakeng, Moshekwa Langa, and Mikhael Subotzky.

Viewing

Friday 24 March 2017 | 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday 25 March 2017 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 26 March 2017 | 10 am – 4 pm

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