Thu, 3rd Sep 2020 20:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 135
Lot 135 - William Kentridge (South Africa 1955-)


William Kentridge (South Africa 1955-)
Dancer Twice

digital print with extensive hand-colouring in wash, pastel and charcoal, on Arches 356 gsm tooth rag paper

Artwork date: 1996/7
Signature details: signed, dated 21 March 1997 and numbered DPIXV in pencil along the bottom edge

Sold for R341,400
Estimated at R300,000 - R400,000

Condition Report

The overall condition is good. Colours are bright and stable. Minor cockling. Framed behind window mount. 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.


digital print with extensive hand-colouring in wash, pastel and charcoal, on Arches 356 gsm tooth rag paper

Artwork date: 1996/7
Signature details: signed, dated 21 March 1997 and numbered DPIXV in pencil along the bottom edge


image size: 68.5 x 102.5 cm


In the mid-nineties William Kentridge was introduced to the possibilities of digital printing by David Krut, who was closely involved with various workshops in the USA. Kentridge selected two classic dancing figure drawings, which Krut took to Urban Digital Color in San Francisco for printing. The cutting edge studio was established by Griff Williams in 1993 and had an IRIS printer, which was revolutionising the photography world at the time. Limited scanning capacity at that time meant reducing the size of the images.The dancing figures were printed with the white background drawing on the left and the darker image on the right. After complex pioneer scanning and printing, half the planned Dancer Twice images on paper arrived for Kentridge to work further. He added a wash, which allowed for uncontrolled variations since the ink is soluble in water.Having requested the balance of the series, Kentridge noted upon their arrival that the images had been reversed. Due to the experimental nature of the project, the artist accepted it as a fait accompli and took up the challenge of producing a ground-breaking suite of works exploring the possibilities of this new technology.These historic works mark the birth of digital printing in South Africa. However, by working on each individual print with charcoal, wash and collage, the artist transformed each into a unique work of art. Given that no two works are alike, they are described as a variable edition.Aspire Art Auctions is fortunate to have two differing examples of this print, each with its own unique handmade elements added by the artist. Dancer Twice, depicting a dancer against a light background on the left is identified as DPI (digital print image) followed by a Roman numeral and dated the day the image was re-worked, while Dancer Twice (Reversed) is identified with Roman numerals.

Emma Bedford


With thanks to David Krut and Gallery Director Ame Bell for additional information on the printing processes.

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, Thu, 3rd Sep 2020

This Spring, Aspire Art Auctions broke new ground with a fresh, yet considered selection of artworks that is demographically more representative and reflects the spirit of current times. With a strong focus on South Africa, the sale also proudly represented artists from 10 African countries (Benin, DRC, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and international artists from Europe, the UK and USA. 

A great highlight was Edoardo Villa’s monumental steel sculpture titled Traverse from 1957 which achieved R4,893,400 – an auction record for the artist. Other exceptional offerings included works by Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba, Peter Clarke and Nicholas Hlobo.

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