Thu, 4th Mar 2021 19:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

 
Lot 37
 
Lot 37 - George Pemba (South Africa 1912-2001)

37

George Pemba (South Africa 1912-2001)
I Epolojice My Warship

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1947
Signature details: signed and dated along the left edge; inscribed with the title on the reverse

Sold for R683,490
Estimated at R400,000 - R600,000


Condition Report

The overall condition is very good. The painting has been cleaned and revarnished. Minor stable cracking in areas consistent with age. Professional report available on request.

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.

 

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1947
Signature details: signed and dated along the left edge; inscribed with the title on the reverse

(1)

41 x 35 cm; Framed size: 50 x 44 x 5 cm

Acquired directly from the artist and thence by descent.

Notes:

George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba occupies a unique place in South African art. His depictions of people are marked by insight and empathy for his fellow human beings. Painted in 1947, I Epolojice My Warship (sic) is a legacy piece that introduces Pemba’s social realism.Pemba completed this painting while he was preparing for his first solo exhibition in East London in 1948. The work was originally acquired directly from the artist and has remained in the same private collection for over six decades. An accomplished portrait in oil paint, this rare early painting stands among the finest works by Pemba ever to come to auction.As a painting it can be appreciated on multiple levels. The apparent humour of the title (inscribed on the reverse of the canvas) resides in the artist’s deliberate use of pidgin English which the court—at that time—might have expected of a black man. Pemba, one of the first black artists to benefit from tertiary education, provides clear indicators of his intent in the title in which the phrase ‘your worship’ is transposed into My Warship – each the very antithesis of the other.The sitter’s quizzical expression alerts the viewer to the significance of the work. Pemba’s expertly painted portrait conveys the humanity of the subject caught in a double bind—while understanding the consequences of a harsh judgment from the court, he must nevertheless perform obsequiously without undermining his own sense of self-worth. With his subject consciously role playing the obsequiousness required in the relations between subaltern and coloniser, Pemba provides a critique of the colonial order of authority. Hayden Proud, Senior Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Iziko South African National Gallery and author of the Pemba monograph, commends “Pemba’s respect for the value of good drawing, inventive composition, accomplished handling of paint and an overarching sense of vision” which are all evident in this early painting.

Emma Bedford

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, Thu, 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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IMPORTANT NOTICE:


 

Logistics

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Small (≤60x90x10 cm): R400

Medium (≤90x120x15 cm): R800

Large (≤120x150x20 cm): R1,200

Over-size: Special quote

 

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Packaging

A flat fee of R100 will be added to the invoice for packaging of unframed works on paper.

 


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For buyers from outside South Africa, we will keep the artworks you have purchased in storage during the year and then ship all the works you have acquired during the year together, so the shipping costs are reduced. At the end of the annual period, we will source various quotes to get you the best price, and ship all your artworks to your desired address at once.

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