Mon, 27th Mar 2017 15:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 131
Lot 131 - Robert Hodgins (South Africa 1920-2010)


Robert Hodgins (South Africa 1920-2010)
oil on board, signed with the artist's initials and dated, 1957

oil on board

Artwork date: 1957
Signature details: signed with the artist's initials and dated

Sold for R170,520
Estimated at R80,000 - R120,000

Condition Report

Cleaned and revarnished, previous missing bottom left corner of board restored, 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.


oil on board

Artwork date: 1957
Signature details: signed with the artist's initials and dated


86.5 x 60.5 cm


Those who know Robert Hodgins as the supreme South African colourist of his generation may well be surprised by the subdued monochrome of these two early works. Although they seem the direct opposite of what his work was to become, it is perhaps more useful to think of them as the baseline from which it was to develop, one that introduces important values that he was to retain for his lifetime.For various reasons, including war service in North Africa, Hodgins qualified at Goldsmiths College, London University, only at the age of thirty-three in 1953. He had immigrated to South Africa before the war but he returned for good on receiving his National Diploma and was appointed lecturer in painting in the School of Art, Pretoria Technical College.Family Group and Mother and Child date within a few years of his settling in South Africa and are clearly still redolent with the drab and colourless atmosphere of post-war London. In terms of their subject-matter, one is reminded in the first instance of the work of Henry Moore, both his sculpture and graphic work, and, beyond him, of the great masters of the Italian Renaissance like Andrea del Sarto, perhaps even of Leonardo’s Cartoon of the Holy Family with St Anne, that Hodgins could have seen in Burlington House. Within their monochromatic austerity there is in these early works a concerted affirmation of essential human values, so absent in Hodgins’ own early life, and so desperately needed in a country recovering from the apocalypse of war. Although concealed in his later works through an expanded vocabulary of expression enabled in part by the pyrotechnics of colour, these same humanist values in fact underpin all Hodgins’s works.

Michael Godby

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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.


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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