Mon, 17th Jul 2017 17:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 129
Lot 129 - Louis Maqhubela (South Africa 1939-)


Louis Maqhubela (South Africa 1939-)

charcoal, pastel, conté and collage on paper

Artwork date: 1967
Signature details: signed

Sold for R73,892
Estimated at R70,000 - R100,000

Condition Report

Two small holes, minor cockling, water damage to bottom portion, minor tears and abrasions along edges, examined out of the frame, not laid down.

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, pastel, conté and collage on paper

Artwork date: 1967
Signature details: signed


98 x 70.5 cm


As a high school learner Maqhubela enrolled for classes at the Polly Street Art Centre in Johannesburg, where he received tuition from Cecil Skotnes and Sydney Kumalo. Sometime during 1963-64 he met with Giuseppe Cattaneo at the University of the Witwatersrand and received brief but fruitful instruction on how to use oils on paper, make monotypes and draw with two pieces of conté crayon, one red and one black.Technically and stylistically comparable to Exiled King (Aspire catalogue, Autumn 17, lot 59: 44), Flight is another fine and rare example of Maqhubela’s conté crayon drawings of the mid-1960s. Birds and trees fill the picture surface, they become one as they merge and overlap and are given palpable volume in subtle Venetian reds, yellows and greys. Solid black lines define and unify, and by scratching into the paper Maqhubela adds highlights, details and texture. A nest of masking tape is collaged around a tree trunk. The subject matter shifts from an incarcerated personage in Exiled King to birds taking flight. However, the connection between the personal and political in Maqhubela’s oeuvre, life and philosophy is no less compelling. For him, birds symbolise the soul that is free to soar, unencumbered by the confines and divisions that we create; this is revealed in his poem, Flight, which relates directly to the drawing (Martin 2010: 13):

The call of the dove in the leafy bough yonder

Cries my boy,

My boy

Have you not your morning chores begun?

The flutter of the whistling circle calls

My heart to burst its


Bar Rib


Satellite the circling music soft and


See the moon

When he won the overall (not designated for black artists) ‘Artist of Fame and Promise’ Award in 1966, Maqhubela became the first to cross the divide between black and white artists. He enjoyed commercial and critical success in South Africa, but settled in London primarily for political reasons in 1976.

Marilyn Martin


Martin, M. (2010). A Vigil of Departure – Louis Khehla Maqhubela, a retrospective 1960-2010. Catalogue. Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery.

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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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