Mon, 27th Mar 2017 15:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 147
Lot 147 - Peter Clarke (South Africa 1929-2014)


Peter Clarke (South Africa 1929-2014)
Op Pad


Artwork date: 1966
Signature details: signed and dated 16.11.1996
Exhibited: Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Listening to Distant Thunder: The art of Peter Clarke, 20 October 2011 to 19 February 2012, catalogue number 43.

Sold for R193,256
Estimated at R140,000 - R180,000

Condition Report

Small paint specks in areas, minor cockling, minor creasing in areas, appears good, not viewed out of frame.

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.



Artwork date: 1966
Signature details: signed and dated 16.11.1996
Exhibited: Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Listening to Distant Thunder: The art of Peter Clarke, 20 October 2011 to 19 February 2012, catalogue number 43.


24 x 37 cm

The Bruce Campbell-Smith Collection.


During the 1960s many of Peter Clarke’s works depicted travellers. Stocky figures with bags and bundles make their way across dunes or along roads, like the two figures who, back view and cut off by the frame, seem to move from our space into the landscape of Op Pad. It was an important theme in Clarke’s oeuvre, prompted perhaps by his own travels when he went to Europe in 1962. But the reference is clearly to South Africa, to commuters stoically trudging long distances to work from the Cape Flats, or displaced people seeking a new home, as he himself would have to do when Simon’s Town was declared a ‘whites only’ area in the mid-1960s. Yet Clarke’s works are not strident or overtly political; rather they are a quiet commentary on the realities of life for people of colour in South Africa under apartheid.The watercolour Op Pad may well have been inspired by earlier travels, when he visited Natal by train in 1955 and was fascinated by the wide spaces of the interior, so different from the coastal Cape where he had grown up. His sketchbook at the time was filled with drawings and watercolours of the scenes and people that he saw. Op Pad may depict the Karoo, the featureless flat landscape stretching into the distance, a darker edge defining the horizon against a slip of blue sky above. The veld is painted in warm oranges and ochres, as though washed by the heat of the sun. But Clarke’s landscapes are rarely specific places: indistinct rectangular shapes and parallel lines created in the fluid brushwork here perhaps represent the raw earth of ploughed fields, like those of the Caledon area that he painted so often. Then the stippled dark green of the horizon suggests welcome shade in the distance for the two travellers.

Elizabeth Rankin

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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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