16th Nov, 2023 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

Lot 36
Lot 36 - Lisa Brice (South Africa 1968-)


Lisa Brice (South Africa 1968-)
Untitled (Spook)

gesso on board

Artwork date: 2005
Signature details: signed and dated on the reverse; printed with the artist's name, the date, title, medium and dimensions on a Goodman Gallery label on the reverse
Exhibited: Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, 'Night Vision', 21 January to 11 February 2006.

Sold for R1,258,125
Estimated at R600,000 - R800,000


gesso on board

Artwork date: 2005
Signature details: signed and dated on the reverse; printed with the artist's name, the date, title, medium and dimensions on a Goodman Gallery label on the reverse
Exhibited: Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, 'Night Vision', 21 January to 11 February 2006.


40.5 x 51 cm; framed size: 42.5 x 52.5 x 4 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.

Strauss & Co., Cape Town, Important South African and International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery, 5 March 2018, lot 457.

Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg.


Untitled (Spook) is a sublime work that formed part of Lisa Brice’s 2006 solo exhibition titled Night Vision at Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. This collection featured a series of captivating monochromatic paintings in shades of green and grey, in which the artist thematically explored the enchantments and uncertainties of childhood.

Brice drew inspiration from the grainy, low-light, green-hued imagery of night-vision photography (with which she became fascinated while working in Trinidad at the Studiofilmclub (SFC) run by artists, Peter Doig and Che Lovelace) to create these works. Skilfully rendered in her distinctive edgy, though, lyrical style of painterly pastiche, Brice masterfully transferred the peculiar visual characteristics of this specialised photographic technology onto canvas, board and paper. The result is an assortment of spellbinding paintings, their content hazy and elusive, yet familiar enough to evoke a sense of nostalgic memory.

In Untitled (Spook), a portrait of a girl-child emerges amid the murky shadows in the background. She appears angelic and pure, radiating an enigmatic and bright aura. Her features are softened and her face exudes a milky luminosity. In this surreal and moody dreamscape, she stands as a solitary figure in stoic repose.

In the background, to her right, a faint and ghostly image subtly emerges, adding a mysterious presence that deepens the painting's meaning. It invites contemplation about its significance. Is it a manifestation of family connections, unresolved memories, the passage of time, or something else entirely? What frightens childlike innocence, and what are the lingering ghosts of our childhood? How do these ghosts haunt one's adulthood?

Although a clear, linear narrative seems ambiguous, this poignant painting is conceptually engaging and visually alluring ­– a key example of Lisa Brice’s artistic brilliance that leaves the viewer forever intrigued.

Marelize van Zyl


  • In October 2023, another painting from Lisa Brice’s Night Vision series titled A2 (2005) sold for £133,750 in London.
  • The highest price achieved for the artist’s work at auction is $3,166,000 for No Bare Back, after Embah (2017) in New York in 2021.
  • Brice’s work is currently on view in Capturing the Moment at Tate Modern, London until 2024. She was also included in Between the Islands at Tate Britain (2021–22).
  • Her solo exhibition LIVES and WORKS recently opened at Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Paris, marking the artist’s debut in France. Other recent solo exhibitions include Lisa Brice at Stephen Friedman Gallery in London (2019) and Boundary Girl at Salon94 in New York (2017).
  • Major institutional solo exhibitions are Smoke and Mirrors at KM21, Kunstmuseum Den Haag in 2020, and Art Now: Lisa Brice at Tate Britain in 2018.
  • In 2022, Brice formed part of the exhibitions: A Century of the Artist's Studio 1920-2020 at Whitechapel Gallery, London, and Women Painting Women at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Important literature references include Vitamin P2: Anthology of International Painting published by Phaidon in 2011, SOUTH AFRICAN ART NOW by Sue Williamson in 2009 and 10 Years 100 Artists: Art in a Democratic South Africa, edited by Sophie Perryer in 2004.


The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably, the Tate Modern, London; Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Standard Bank Corporate Collection, Johannesburg; SABC Collection, Johannesburg; Scheryn Art Collection, Cape Town; Gallery Frank Haenel, Frankfurt; X Museum, Beijing and the Sindika Dokolo - African Collection of Contemporary Art, Luanda.

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