Sun, 28th Oct 2018 8:30

Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art

Lot 27
Lot 27 - Ezrom Legae (South Africa 1938-1999)


Ezrom Legae (South Africa 1938-1999)

bronze and wood

Literature: De Jager, E. J. (1992). Images of Man: Contemporary South African Black Art and Artists. Alice: Fort Hare University Press, illustrated on p.118.

Sold for R398,300
Estimated at R350,000 - R550,000

Condition Report

Minor surface dirt, otherwise 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.


bronze and wood

Literature: De Jager, E. J. (1992). Images of Man: Contemporary South African Black Art and Artists. Alice: Fort Hare University Press, illustrated on p.118.


52.5 x 26 x 28 cm excluding base


Ezrom Legae’s sculptures share a profound, haunting expression, especially the bronze heads that exude a transitory state of being simultaneously here and elsewhere, far away in their own universe. Through their facial expressions and physical postures, they reveal the interiority of deep feeling and penetrating psychology. The human trauma is not mistaken, nor is the appeal against dehumanisation. Black bodies tend to be in agony, though resisting surrender as they exude courage; standing the test of oppression, anguish and degradation against brutal regimes. Head embodies these expressive contents, articulated through the geometric shapes that define its physical identity as a black portrait. A subtle commentary, the work speaks through its facial expression, denoting a sense of disquiet. If not that, then the figure is self-absorbed in contemplation. A curious feature of Head is the elongated, upright neck that holds firm the head shape in a sculptural posture suggesting strength and the resolve of the black subject to stand tall and demand dignity under oppressive circumstances.

The erect posture of Head is daring, without aggression, but approached with an aesthetic sensibility indicative of steadiness. As a head, it could be perceived as the epicentre of reason, where thought and memory, understanding and emotion are controlled. This understanding does not relegate the rest of the body, but underscores the significance of Head to be representative of wisdom, if not a poised assertive, heroic posture. Also, it could be the head-space where the concepts of Steve Biko’s ‘black consciousness’ and Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s ‘decolonising the mind’ need to occur. Stylised in character, Head demonstrates Legae’s command of technique, the rendition of form, an articulation of human expression. The wonderfully pensive personality of this bronze head, like many of his works, attests to his creative ability to produce commentary in his art that is imaginatively reflective, yet simple in outlook.Only mastery articulates complexity in basic form, as Head evinces.

Thembinkosi Goniwe

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Auction: Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art, Sun, 28th Oct 2018

Aspire Art Auctions brought a significant double-header of top lot leads to this sale.

Stellar results were achieved for internationally prominent William Kentridge and Alexis Preller, one of South Africa’s most respected and collectable modern artists. Collectors were attracted to Kentridge’s remarkable, Drawing from Stereoscope (Double page, Soho in two rooms) (1999), which sold for R6 600 400, while Preller’s Adam (1972), sold for a world record at R9 104 000. Modern offerings also included works by Peter Clarke, Kenneth Bakker, and Douglas Portway, while the contemporary segment included Moshekwa Langa, Penny Siopis, Simon Stone, Clive van den Berg, and Georgina Gratrix, amongst others.

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