Sun, 1st Sep 2019 9:30

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 29
Lot 29 - David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)


David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)
Circumcision Initiate near Coffee Bay, Transkei, 1975

hand printed gelatin silver print on fibre-based paper

Artwork date: 1975, printed 1982
Signature details: signed, dated and inscribed with the title in pencil on the reverse

Sold for R170,700
Estimated at R150,000 - R250,000


hand printed gelatin silver print on fibre-based paper

Artwork date: 1975, printed 1982
Signature details: signed, dated and inscribed with the title in pencil on the reverse


sheet size: 38 x 30 cm

Hand printed by the artist. Other examples from the edition are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.,


In 1975, David Goldblatt’s association with the Anglo-American Corporation’s in house magazine Optima led to the publication of a photographic essay about the Transkei, a selection of photographs from which was later published in 1978 by German-language magazine Geo (this time in collaboration with Nadine Gordimer.)[1] The resulting images from Goldblatt’s Transkei sojourn were not published as a stand-alone, dedicated photobook. Rather, they make appearances throughout a wide variety of museum, gallery and book projects, as proof of the consistency of Goldblatt’s methodology, approach and thematic concerns across his image-making lifetime.This iconic portrait of a young man entering into the mysteries and responsibilities of adulthood via circumcision initiation has been widely exhibited and reproduced and is a highly regarded example from Goldblatt’s work in the Transkei.

Kathryn Del Boccio


[1] Ziebinska-Lewandowska, K. (ed.). (2018). David Goldblatt: Structures of Dominion and Democracy. Göttingen: Steidl, p.333-4.

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