Thu, 5th Nov 2020 19:00

Aspire X PLP | African Photography Auction 2020

Lot 66
Lot 66 - David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)


David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)
The Vaal River, near Standerton. 2 May 2002 (4_8595) (from the Intersections series)

digital print in pigment inks on cotton rag paper

Artwork date: 2002
Signature details: accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist
Edition: number 3 from an edition of 6

Sold for R200,000
Estimated at R300,000 - R500,000

Condition Report

The condition is mint.

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.


digital print in pigment inks on cotton rag paper

Artwork date: 2002
Signature details: accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist
Edition: number 3 from an edition of 6


image size: 84 x 119 cm, unframed

Courtesy of the David Goldblatt Legacy Trust.


David Goldblatt was born in Randfontein, a small mining town outside Johannesburg. He began exploring the medium of photography after matriculating in 1948 but only formally made photography his profession after his father died in 1962 and the family business, a mining concession store, was sold. In the years that followed, while Goldblatt supported his family through photography commissions and magazine work, he produced more than ten major photographic series documenting the people, landscapes and structures of South Africa. Goldblatt founded the Market Photo Workshop, a training institution in Johannesburg for aspiring photographers, in 1989. In 1998, he was the first South African to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A retrospective of his work, David Goldblatt Fifty-One Years, began an international tour of galleries and museums in 2001. Goldblatt was one of the few South African artists to exhibit at Documenta 11 (2002) and Documenta 12 (2007) in Kassel, Germany. He has held solo exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the New Museum, both in New York. His work was included in the exhibition ILLUMInations at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, and has featured on shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Barbican Centre in London. In 2017, Goldblatt installed a series of portraits from his photographic essay, Ex-O!enders, in former prisons in Birmingham and Manchester. The portraits depict men and women, from South Africa and the UK, at the scene of their crimes, with accompanying texts that relate the subjects’ stories in their words. In the last year of his life, two major retrospectives were opened at Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. The Goldblatt Archive is held by Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Goldblatt is the recipient of the 2006 Hasselblad award, the 2009 Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, the 2013 ICP Infinity Award, and was awarded the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of France in 2016. "In the 1990s my anger dissipated. Apartheid was no more. There were things to probe and criticise, but the emphasis was di"erent. Lyricism seemed not only permissible but possible. In the late ‘90s I became aware of colour as a particular quality of this place and its light that I wanted to explore. It seemed 'thin', yet intense. To achieve prints that would hold these qualities I would need to print in colour in a way that was similar to that which I had developed for my black and white work. I wanted high contrast, thin colour and yet nuanced gradation and colour. With the help of new colour emulsions that have remarkable latitude and a neutral palette, digital scanning and printing, rag papers and pigment inks and the technical virtuosity and willingness to venture of Tony Meintjies, who does it for me,I am approaching prints that come close to my sense of colour, place and light in South Africa. Over the generations the land has shaped us – I say in the broadest sense, us South Africans. And we have shaped the land. It is almost impossible now to find a pristine landscape. The grass has been grazed to the point of being threadbare, crops come and go, roads traverse, fences divide and mines penetrate and throw up the scabs of their detritus. These and our structures are the marks of our presence. I am drawn by the intimacies of our association with this land. [Much of the landscape] is deep, bland, vast and seemingly featureless. Yet precisely in these qualities is a presence that is di!cult to hold or suggest in photographs. As soon as you try to bring what is before you into some sort or visual coherence, it eludes, it seems to move away. There seems no focal point, no way of coherently containing it. Often it is what I call a 'fuck all' landscape. Somehow one has to find ways of being true to what is there and yet bringing it fully to the page or print." From Intersections, David Goldblatt.

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Auction: Aspire X PLP | African Photography Auction 2020, Thu, 5th Nov 2020

A collection of pan-African works, straddling the terrain between historical and contemporary photography, were auctioned to support the digitisation of African photographic legacies by the Photography Legacy Project (PLP). Bidders participated from across Europe, the USA and UK, Asia, Australia and Africa – a testament to Aspire’s increasing global reach and collectors’ enthusiasm for African photography.

The auction included photographic luminaries such as David Goldblatt, Alf Kumalo, G.R. Naidoo, Ranjith Kally and Ian Berry, as well as more contemporary internationally acclaimed photographers like Guy Tillim, Jo Ractliffe, Syowia Kyambi and Mikhael Subotzky. The lead lot, a portfolio of 12 silver gelatin prints from the legendary photographer Ernest Cole’s seminal 1967 book House of Bondage sold for an astounding R569,000 – a new world auction record.



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