Sun, 17th Jun 2018 18:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 31
Lot 31 - Edoardo Villa (South Africa 1915-2011)


Edoardo Villa (South Africa 1915-2011)
Sculpture VIII

painted steel

Artwork date: 1970
Signature details: signed and dated
Literature: Nel, Karel. (2005). Villa at 90. Johannesburg: Shelf Publishing, illustrated on p.140.

Sold for R1,138,000
Estimated at R1,000,000 - R1,500,000

Condition Report

Repainted, 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.


painted steel

Artwork date: 1970
Signature details: signed and dated
Literature: Nel, Karel. (2005). Villa at 90. Johannesburg: Shelf Publishing, illustrated on p.140.


201 x 265 x 110 cm


This monumental work in steel was created at the end of the 1960s, the most tumultuous and influential period in Edoardo Villa’s long career. Its extended forms and starkly elegant
simplicity are characteristic of other works from the same period, like the Maquette proposal for Jan Smuts airport. During this time, Villa was searching for a range of conceptual and visual solutions to the challenge of representing his hybrid identity as a sculptor of European origin working in Africa. His association with the Amadlozi Group through the 1960s is much remarked upon. While Amadlozi had no doctrinal artistic manifesto as such, it was driven by founder Egon Guenther’s conviction that artists should draw on their own
experiences and milieu in order to create. This meant that Villa, for one, had to find ways to reconcile his European heritage and training with his African experience and visual source material. As with the other Amadlozi sculptors, Sydney Kumalo and Ezrom Legae, Villa drew on his exposure to Guenther’s African art collection, as well as that of his other friend Vittorino Meneghelli, to fashion his own unique visual language. As Karel Nel points out in the book Villa at 90, the extended forms projecting dramatically outward from the tapering base of the piece recall the great Songe Kwifebe masks of the Democratic Republic of Congo: ‘In the Songe masks, [viewers] … cannot mistake this face for that of a living being. Rather it represents that of a powerful, ancestral spirit whose extended senses are associated with altered consciousness and the supersensory ancestral world’ (2005:140).
While Villa’s commitment to a graceful abstraction is present in this imposing and balanced piece, the spirituality of its African identity also shines through.

James Sey


Nel, K, Burroughs, E, von Maltitz, A. (eds.) 2005. Villa at 90. Johannesburg:
Jonathan Ball and Shelf.

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Sun, 17th Jun 2018

In a slow and unresponsive market, amid tight economic conditions generally in South Africa, Aspire Art Auctions made impressive statements and set several world records.

Two rare works by Irma Stern achieved sparkling results. The top lot by value: Still life with magnolias, apples and bowl (1949), fetched R6 828 000, the highest price achieved for a work by Stern for over a year. Another significant still life, Still life with chrysanthemums in the artist’s handmade ceramic jug, from 1950, sold for R3 414 000.

A significant, world record was achieved for Peter Clarke – R1 479 400 for Lazy Day, an acrylic and gouache on paper from 1975, and records were also set for contemporary artists, Zander Blom and Paul Stopforth.


Thursday 14 June 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Friday 15 June 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 16 June 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 17 June 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm

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