Mon, 31st Oct 2016 20:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 15
Lot 15 - Hugo Naudé (South Africa 1869-1941)


Hugo Naudé (South Africa 1869-1941)
Drying fruit

oil on canvas laid down on board

Artwork date: 1896
Signature details: signed and dated '2 IV 96' (sic)

Sold for R682,080
Estimated at R600,000 - R900,000

Condition Report

Canvas laid down on masonite, revarnished and 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 canvas laid down on board

Artwork date: 1896
Signature details: signed and dated '2 IV 96' (sic)


40.5 x 52.5 cm


Drying Fruit, dated 1896, is a fine example of Hugo Naudé’s early academic training, first at the Slade School of Art in London during the years 1989-90 and later on from 1890-94 at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich where he concentrated on mastering portraiture.

However, before returning permanently to South Africa in 1896, Naudé spent a year working with the artists known collectively as the Barbizon Group at Fontainebleau in France and, looking at this painting, it seems very likely that he was influenced by the genre paintings of these artists, especially the work of Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) who was one of the leading members of the Group along with Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867) and Charles François Daubigny (1817-1878). The plein-airist approach of this Group seemed to have had an enduring influence on Naudé’s work.

Apart from his well-known Fontainebleau landscapes, Millet’s interest later focused on scenes of peasant life and their arduous day-to-day labour in the fields, subject matter which was familiar to Naudé as is evident in Drying Fruit, having been born on a farm and being well acquainted with the daily activities of the family farm, ‘Aan-de-Doorns’ in the Worcester district.

An important work which Naudé might have seen or might have prompted (or influenced) the subject matter of Drying Fruit, could have been Millet’s painting entitled The Gleaners (1857), (now in the Musée d’Orsay), in which he portrays three destitute peasant women collecting the remains or left-overs of the annual harvest. In Drying Fruit, Naudé depicts a similar back-breaking farming activity, namely spreading the fresh fruit, possibly apricots and raisins, onto bulrush (palmiet) matting (matjiesgoed). This was common practice in earlier years in the Worcester area which, to this day, is well known for its dried fruit, as well as mebos (dried and sugared apricots). Here the labourers are all wearing either hats or kopdoeke, to shield them from the summer sun flooding this entire pastoral scene. This painting is an exceptional example of Naudé’s early approach towards the South African landscape.

Eunice Basson


Alexander, L., Bedford, E. and Cohen, E. (1988). Paris and South African Artists, 1850-1965. Catalogue. Cape Town: South African National Gallery.

Broughton, M. (1957). Founders of Painting at the Cape since 1857. Catalogue. Cape Town: The Cape Argus.

Van Niekerk, R. (1976). Landscapes from the Permanent Collection. Catalogue. Cape Town: South African National Gallery.

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Mon, 31st Oct 2016

The line-up for our inaugural sale included an extraordinary selection of art. Works ranged from JH Pierneef’s breathtaking Karoo near Hofmeyer, painted in 1930, to Dan Halter’s 2006, ultraviolet light, Pefection. 

Sculptures varied from Edoardo Villa’s acknowledgment of French artist, Aristide Maillol to Wim Botha’s heads that draw on classical and contemporary sources and Ed Young’s cheeky nude self-portrait. Also included were impressive photographs by award-winners, David Goldblatt and Pieter Hugo.

The auction set an impressive standard, with an outstanding sell-through rate of over 75% across 121 lots. The top lot of the sale was Alexis Preller’s exceptional Profile Figures (Mirrored Image), selling for over  R7-million. Record sales were achieved for Villa, Goldblatt, and Hugo, amongst others.


Friday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 4 pm


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