28th Oct, 2018 8:30

Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art

Lot 66
Lot 66 - Christo Coetzee (South Africa 1929-2000)


Christo Coetzee (South Africa 1929-2000)

acrylic and enamel on board

Artwork date: 1998
Signature details: signed and dated

Sold for R96,502
Estimated at R150,000 - R200,000


acrylic and enamel on board

Artwork date: 1998
Signature details: signed and dated


119 x 119 cm


Bridal themes and flowers have played a significant role throughout Christo Coetzee’s artistic career of more than fifty years, perhaps as an indication of his romantic side as well as his appreciation of what he considered beautiful. Some of his earliest work dating from his Figurative Period (1947-1953) includes Bridal Couple (1948), Bridesmaid (1950) and The Bride (1950) – all reminiscent of the European romantic painters of the early 20th century – and various still-lives with roses.

In the early 1970’s, living in Spain, Coetzee started producing larger paintings of brides with elaborate headpieces and antique Spanish dresses, layered with lace and edged with pearly beads. These monumental brides are ‘represented with a countenance, attitude and attribute that express serenity, shyness, calmness and especially a sense of mystery’ (Ballot 1999:42). Often his brides are depicted as veiled, emphasising the enigmatic qualities of these ‘dolls’ or ‘intuitive remembrances’, as Coetzee referred to his paintings of female subjects.The distance veils create between the bride and the viewer was taken further in Coetzee’s so-called Heuristic Period (1975-1980), when he started to cover his paintings with an additional painted perspex panel mounted in front of the painting. These panels rendered the face difficult to read, ultimately obscuring the message of the work.

Painted two years before his death in 2000, Coetzee presents The Bride (1998) as an unobscured image of a young woman, without any symbolical elements as concealing techniques. Her almond-shaped eyes are directed at the viewer and her gossamer veil, crowned by a garland of roses, billows to the sides. Her long neck, adorned with a string of pearls, disappears into a sea of voile, layered in hues of pink and blue. The Bride is portrayed as serene, calm and approachable, yet she maintains that level of mystique so characteristic of Coetzee’s brides.

Johan Myburg


Ballot, M. (1999). Christo Coetzee. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau.

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Auction: Historic, Modern and Contemporary Art, 28th Oct, 2018

Aspire Art Auctions brought a significant double-header of top lot leads to this sale.

Stellar results were achieved for internationally prominent William Kentridge and Alexis Preller, one of South Africa’s most respected and collectable modern artists. Collectors were attracted to Kentridge’s remarkable, Drawing from Stereoscope (Double page, Soho in two rooms) (1999), which sold for R6 600 400, while Preller’s Adam (1972), sold for a world record at R9 104 000. Modern offerings also included works by Peter Clarke, Kenneth Bakker, and Douglas Portway, while the contemporary segment included Moshekwa Langa, Penny Siopis, Simon Stone, Clive van den Berg, and Georgina Gratrix, amongst others.

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