Sun, 17th Jun 2018 18:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 40
Lot 40 - Peter Clarke (South Africa 1929-2014)


Peter Clarke (South Africa 1929-2014)
Lazy Day

acrylic and gouache on paper|

Artwork date: 1975
Signature details: signed and dated 25.2.1975; inscribed with the title and medium on the reverse

Sold for R1,479,400
Estimated at R600,000 - R900,000

Condition Report


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.


acrylic and gouache on paper|

Artwork date: 1975
Signature details: signed and dated 25.2.1975; inscribed with the title and medium on the reverse


60.5 x 75.5 cm


Peter Clarke typically used high white walls with cornices reminiscent of Cape Dutch architecture to carry a political message about the exclusions of apartheid South Africa, separating white from black, privileged from oppressed. But here the wall takes on a benign role – it provides solitude and privacy for a lone nude woman enjoying the sun, its warmth and brightness suggested not only by the vivid blue of the cloudless sky but the dark shadows the figure casts. The pleasurable scene is enhanced by flowering plants with thick green leaves and brilliant red blooms, and a limpid pool that mirrors one of them, as well as complementing reflections of the cerulean sky. It is a luxuriant, peaceful garden, sheltered from the outside world: only a black cockerel on the wall overlooks the scene. The woman’s relaxed body is languorously sprawled on the grass, arms raised to reduce the glare of the sun on her face, but also to expose her generous breasts. Nudity is unusual in Clarke’s oeuvre, although he produced a series of life drawings in 2008 when he attended life classes in Kalk Bay. But the only naked females in Clarke’s paintings that spring to mind are ‘exotic’ – a blonde woman carried off by a black centaur in a 1958 work after Picasso’s Rape, and a Japanese Geisha and her lover in Lady with a chiffon scarf in her mouth, made in 2007 as part of his Fan Series. The current beauty is black, with the sun’s sheen on her dark skin. Given Clarke’s impish sense of humour and the double entendres of works like Cock Stand of 1978, portraying the bird perched on the buttocks of a young man doing press-ups, it seems unlikely that the rooster on the wall of Lazy Day is about to interrupt the woman’s leisure only with his crowing.

Elizabeth Rankin

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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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