7th Jun, 2023 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

Lot 16
Lot 16 - David Koloane (South Africa 1938-2019)


David Koloane (South Africa 1938-2019)
Self portrait

acrylic on canvas

Artwork date: 2001
Signature details: signed and dated mid-right
Location: Johannesburg

Sold for R137,250
Estimated at R120,000 - R180,000


acrylic on canvas

Artwork date: 2001
Signature details: signed and dated mid-right
Location: Johannesburg


100 x 75 x 3 cm


Private collection, Johannesburg.

Acquired directly from the artist.


In Self portrait David Koloane holds a book, open towards the viewer, as he gazes up. The windows in the buildings behind him are illuminated and it appears to be evening. The contemplative scene reminds one of a comparison – made by curator Tumelo Mosaka – of Koloane to Auguste Rodin’s famous sculpture, The Thinker:

“[The Thinker] is a work that is commonly associated with strength, reason and belief. In the same spirit, I have come to appreciate Koloane’s slow, almost ponderous style of watching, waiting and carefully approaching a situation with conviction. On the surface, one may mistake him for a dreamer, but in reality, he is a creator, scholar and thinker.”[1]

This self-portrait alludes to Koloane reflecting on his environment and his skillful observation and radically nuanced depictions of Johannesburg. The artist lived his entire life in the city – it became his primary subject and he used it to interrogate the socio-political and existential human-condition. The book that falls open towards the viewer in the painting suggests that he is sharing knowledge. This reminds one of his life-long commitment to create institutions and education that are accessible to black artists through establishing the Thupelo Workshops and later The Bag Factory residency in Newtown, as Koloane believed that “art was not only a space for individual expression; it was also a critical space for knowledge production and education.”[2]

[1] Goniwe, T. (ed). (2019). A Resilient Visionary: Poetic Expressions of David Koloane. Johannesburg: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, p.131.

[2] Ibid

August Rodin,The Thinker

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Auction: 20th Century & Contemporary Art, 7th Jun, 2023


Aspire Art will impress collectors with this focused, boutique-style auction in Johannesburg. A feature of the carefully compiled collection is a strong focus on contemporary African artists. Collectors of contemporary works from Africa will be spoilt for choice with works by Thierry Oussou (Benin), Richard Mudariki (Zimbabwe) and Banele Khoza (Swaziland). Local contemporary favourites include Nandipha  Mntambo, Cinga Samson and Gerhard Marx amongst others. Contemporary photographers are also well represented with works by Aida Muluneh (Ethiopia), Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe) and South African international superstar, Zanele Muholi, while important historical images are included with works of Winnie Mandela by Alf Kumalo and a portfolio of twelve works – chronicling the hardships of apartheid – from Ernest Cole’s seminal House of Bondage (1967).

A highlight of the sale is South African modernist Alexis Preller’s, Adam (1972) – a recently discovered, never before seen, work forming part of Preller’s series of Adamic-themed works from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other significant modern pieces include a unique terrazzo sculpture by Edoardo Villa, still lifes by Maggie Laubser and works by Cecil Skotnes, Walter Battiss and J.H Pierneef. 

The sale concludes with a special section of  William Kentridge editioned prints led by the impressive Blue Head (1993 – 1998).



Viewing will be open from  Friday 2 to Wednesday 7 June 8:30 to 16:30 and Saturday 3 June from 10:00 to 14:00.

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Small (≤60x90x10 cm): R480

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