31st Oct, 2016 20:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 39
Lot 39 - Diane Victor (South Africa 1964-)


Diane Victor (South Africa 1964-)
Family Matters

smoke drawing

Artwork date: 2015
Signature details: signed; signed, dated and inscribed with the title on the reverse

Sold for R102,312
Estimated at R90,000 - R120,000


smoke drawing

Artwork date: 2015
Signature details: signed; signed, dated and inscribed with the title on the reverse


98.5 x 150 cm


Diane Victor is one of South Africa’s most recognisable and uncompromising mid-career artists. Her satirical yet compassionate work, often focused on abject and distressing subject matter, is executed in a pointedly visceral style. Her boldness, strong ethical and often humorous approach to her subject matter, as well as her sureness of touch and technical gifts, make her work on paper highly compelling. In more recent times the traditional media of drawing, etching and printmaking have broadened with the addition of a range of ‘smoke drawings’, a process whereby candle smoke is used to mark the paper. It is an exceedingly fragile and evanescent approach, one which seems appropriate to its subjects, which are often the marginalised and ignored of society.

The recent work Abomakgereza (2015), is indicative of Victor’s skill in more time-honoured media – but with her own thematic. The equation of medium and subject is what works in this graphite, charcoal and ash work. It depicts one of the characteristic urban garbage recyclers in South Africa’s cities, especially Joburg, who eke out a marginal existence scavenging trash and hauling it around the city on rudimentary trolleys. Translated into this medium, the fragility of their existence is lent an aesthetic and rigorously observed form by Victor – the subject of the work almost assumes the gravitas of a religious pilgrim.

In two other works on auction, both smoke drawings, Victor demonstrates a sureness of touch along with her customary thematic intelligence. The work Dancing Rhino speaks not only to the artist’s beliefs about the ethical treatment of animals, but also offers a characteristic transformation of the animal into a kind of totem, a shorthand for key social and political concerns and protests. On a more personal note, Family Matters from 2015, is disquieting in its surreal, vaguely threatening and dreamlike subversion of the family portrait.

James Sey

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, 31st Oct, 2016

The line-up for our inaugural sale included an extraordinary selection of art. Works ranged from JH Pierneef’s breathtaking Karoo near Hofmeyer, painted in 1930, to Dan Halter’s 2006, ultraviolet light, Pefection. 

Sculptures varied from Edoardo Villa’s acknowledgment of French artist, Aristide Maillol to Wim Botha’s heads that draw on classical and contemporary sources and Ed Young’s cheeky nude self-portrait. Also included were impressive photographs by award-winners, David Goldblatt and Pieter Hugo.

The auction set an impressive standard, with an outstanding sell-through rate of over 75% across 121 lots. The top lot of the sale was Alexis Preller’s exceptional Profile Figures (Mirrored Image), selling for over  R7-million. Record sales were achieved for Villa, Goldblatt, and Hugo, amongst others.


Friday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 4 pm


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