4th Mar, 2021 19:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 36
Lot 36 - Edoardo Villa (Italy/South Africa 1915-2011)


Edoardo Villa (Italy/South Africa 1915-2011)
Reclining Figure

painted steel

Artwork date: 1990
Signature details: signed and dated on the base
Literature: Nel, K., Burroughs, E. and Von Maltitz, A. (eds). (2005). Villa at 90. Johannesburg and Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers, illustrated on pp.98 & 99.

Sold for R762,125
Estimated at R700,000 - R1,000,000


painted steel

Artwork date: 1990
Signature details: signed and dated on the base
Literature: Nel, K., Burroughs, E. and Von Maltitz, A. (eds). (2005). Villa at 90. Johannesburg and Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers, illustrated on pp.98 & 99.


excluding base: 170 x 270 x 200 cm; including base: 198 x 270 x 200 cm

Private collection, Vaal Estate.


Reclining Form is an exuberant assemblage of intertwined tubular and disc-like shapes in steel. Produced in 1990, this impressive sculpture shows Edoardo Villa’s return (at the age of 75) to creating larger volumetric works and affirms the artist’s ability to innovatively construct complex formal structures, as well as his incredible mastery of working with steel, on an amplified scale. At almost 2 metres in length, Reclining Form presents a symphony of geometric and organic forms where “Villa appears to revel in an almost Baroque feast of varied, bold, twisting, stretching, expanding, massive, open shapes”.[1] A touch of lush green inside the “loose-limbed” tubes indicates the dialogue between the interior and exterior parts of the composition. Although an abstracted construction, Villa’s sculptures are generally derived from a figurative source, and this sculpture, according to Karel Nel and Amalie von Maltitz, is reminiscent of Henry Moore’s Falling Warrior (1956) at Tate Gallery in London. But unlike the earlier work, Reclining Form, rather than being heroic, suggests vulnerability.Villa was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at the University of Pretoria in 1990 and in 1995 the Villa Museum opened on the main campus. To celebrate the inauguration, a long-term exhibition of Villa’s large steel sculptures was on public display at the university. Reclining Form was included in the exhibition and installed on the campus at the time.

Marelize van Zyl


Nel, K and Von Maltitz, A. Edoardo Villa: A Life Considered in Nel, K., Burroughs, E. and Von Maltitz, A. (eds.), (2005). Villa at 90. Johannesburg and Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishing, p.92.

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, 4th Mar, 2021

Aspire Art Auctions’ Cape Town sale proved that the market for African and international art continues to thrive despite the pandemic.

The top lot by value was Irma Stern’s Dahlias and fruit, one of the most outstanding paintings from her late period, which achieved an impressive R5,234,800. Marlene Dumas scored a sensational hit when her early painting, Score, sold for R3,414,000, and stellar results were also achieved for celebrated artists; William Kentridge, George Pemba, Gerard Sekoto and Peter Clarke, amongst others, with world records at auction set for contemporary artists Turiya Magadlela and Gerhard Marx.

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