Sun, 3rd Nov 2019 10:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 16
Lot 16 - Deborah Bell (South Africa 1957-)


Deborah Bell (South Africa 1957-)
Coeur Rage II

aquatint and drypoint etching

Artwork date: 2008–10
Signature details: signed, dated, numbered E.V.IV and inscribed with the title in pencil along the bottom margin

Sold for R125,180
Estimated at R100,000 - R150,000

Condition Report

The overall condition is good. The is minor cockling. Not laid down, floated to backing mount, not examined out of frame, full report available on request.

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.


aquatint and drypoint etching

Artwork date: 2008–10
Signature details: signed, dated, numbered E.V.IV and inscribed with the title in pencil along the bottom margin


sheet size: 120 x 221 cm


Deborah Bell is well established as one of South Africa’s most celebrated and collectable contemporary artists. While she has always worked across a range of different mediums, her sculpture has attracted much attention recently. But perhaps her longest commitment has been to printmaking, having had a working relationship with the David Krut Print Workshop extending back almost two decades.What brings her work together thematically is a sustained set of committed investigations into the nature of sprituality and mortality, the mythic and how it figures in human life and culture. To this end she has refined a sopisticated and yet simplified visual language and iconography. Importantly this derives from different cultures and philosophies in which rites of passage – in particular the passage from the human to the spiritual and the mortal to the immortal – play a central role.
The characters undergoing those rites are often heroic female figures, emblematically the hunter goddess Diana, who journey between realms and worlds accompanied by a guide or intermediary. In this work, the female figure astride the lion is indubitably free but also on a journey. The inscription Bell includes in the work, from which the edition takes its name, puns in English on the word ‘Courage’, but also infers the idea of a burning heart, raging against the dying of the light. The lion on which the woman rides is part of her spiritual journey, leading her from world to world, into a higher spiritual realm, and which has its allies in other tropes in her work such as boats, chariots and horses. These powerful, totemic images, of which this is stunning example, make up Bell’s attempt to create a present and imaginable spiritual world..

James Sey

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