Sun, 28th Oct 2018 8:30

Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art

Lot 29
Lot 29 - Sydney Kumalo (South Africa 1935-1988)


Sydney Kumalo (South Africa 1935-1988)
Reclining Figure I


Artwork date: 1982
Signature details: signed and numbered 1/5
Exhibited: Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, 16 October 1982.
Literature: Berman, E. (1983). Art and Artists of South Africa. Johannesburg: A.A. Balkema, illustrated on p.404.; The Star, 19 October 1982.

Sold for R682,800
Estimated at R500,000 - R700,000

Condition Report


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Artwork date: 1982
Signature details: signed and numbered 1/5
Exhibited: Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, 16 October 1982.
Literature: Berman, E. (1983). Art and Artists of South Africa. Johannesburg: A.A. Balkema, illustrated on p.404.; The Star, 19 October 1982.


37 x 62 x 30.5 cm


On 23 July 1966, the front cover of the prestigious London fortnightly art magazine “Arts Review” featured photographs of two bronze sculptures – a Henry Moore lying figure and Sydney Kumalo’s Head (“Portrait of Egon”). Kumalo’s sculpture was featured on the front cover as he was taking part in a two-man exhibition with Cecil Skotnes at London’s Grosvenor Gallery from 12 July to 6 August 1966.Given the political situation in South Africa at the time, it is remarkable that a South African artist – especially a black artist – was able to achieve this level of international recognition.There were three major influences on Kumalo’s development as an internationally recognised artist: Cecil Skotnes during the formative period when Kumalo studied at Polly Street; Egon Guenther as his mentor and art dealer from 1959 – 1972; and Linda Givon of the Goodman Gallery, who represented him from 1973 until Kumalo’s death in 1988.

Over the last ten years, Kumalo’s importance as one of South Africa’s best sculptors, and one of the top ten South African artists of all time, has been increasingly recognised. Huge demand for his work by art museums and collectors both in South Africa and internationally has resulted in rising prices for his sculptures, especially those done while he was mentored and represented by Guenther and Goodman.Reclining Figure I was conceived in 1982 while Kumalo was with Linda Givon. This sculpture has also been referred to as “Reclining Mapogga” and “Ndebele Reclining Figure”. Only two sculptures were cast from an edition of 5. The influence of Henry Moore is evident, but the work is quintessentially Kumalo.

Gavin Watkins


Date: 1982. Vignali Foundry, Pretoria. 60cm (length). Edition size: 5. Number cast by Linda Goodman: 2. Exhibitions; Goodman Gallery: 16 October 1982.

Art and Artists of South Africa, Esme Berman, 1983, page 404; The Star 19 October 1982.

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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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