Sun, 12th Nov 2017 17:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

 
Lot 73
 
Lot 73 - Deborah Bell (South Africa 1957-)

73

Deborah Bell (South Africa 1957-)
Little Morals

Little Morals is a portfolio of eight etchings made in conjunction with Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge. Titles include: With reason or without; Every word is a lie; A last judgement; It’s better off alone; A good woman, apparently; What love can do; And this too; Less savage than some.

Artwork date: 1990
Signature details: each signed, dated, numbered 41/45 in pencil in the margins and printed with the respective titles in the plates
Exhibited: The Little Morals portfolio was initially exhibited at Cassirer Fine Art (Johannesburg), Gallery International (Cape Town) and Taking Liberties (Durban). Two decades later, in 2011, it was exhibited as part of Three Artists at the Caversham Press: Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge at Boston University Art Galleries.
Literature: Geers, K. (1997). Contemporary South African Art: The Gencor Collection. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishers, another example from the edition illustrated on p.108. Stein, P. (2004). Deborah Bell. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing, another example from the edition illustrated on pp.56–57.

Sold for R159,152
Estimated at R150,000 - R250,000


Condition Report

Minor cockling, otherwise good. Not examined out of the frame, full 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.

 

Little Morals is a portfolio of eight etchings made in conjunction with Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge. Titles include: With reason or without; Every word is a lie; A last judgement; It’s better off alone; A good woman, apparently; What love can do; And this too; Less savage than some.

Artwork date: 1990
Signature details: each signed, dated, numbered 41/45 in pencil in the margins and printed with the respective titles in the plates
Exhibited: The Little Morals portfolio was initially exhibited at Cassirer Fine Art (Johannesburg), Gallery International (Cape Town) and Taking Liberties (Durban). Two decades later, in 2011, it was exhibited as part of Three Artists at the Caversham Press: Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge at Boston University Art Galleries.
Literature: Geers, K. (1997). Contemporary South African Art: The Gencor Collection. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishers, another example from the edition illustrated on p.108. Stein, P. (2004). Deborah Bell. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing, another example from the edition illustrated on pp.56–57.

(8)

plate size: 23 x 31.5 cm each

Notes:

Little Morals is a set of etchings produced by leading South African sculptor, painter and printmaker Deborah Bell as part of a collaborative portfolio with Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge. The three artists met at the University of the Witwatersrand, where Bell obtained her BAFA (Hons) and MFA degrees. Kentridge, Hodgins and Bell were important participants in the early years of The Caversham Press in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, where they created three collaborative print portfolios Hogarth in Johannesburg
(1986), Little Morals (1990–91), and Ubu Tells the Truth (1996–97), as well as numerous individual prints. When making these series, the three would work on their own prints in the same space at the same time, drawing on each other’s responses. ‘When we [came] together to do these projects, we [would] all do our own stuff, so there [was] not the anxiety of getting something major to work,’ Bell recalls, (Atkinson 2002: 59). Bell and Kentridge stuck to black and white in their Little Morals sets, while Hodgins hand-coloured his series.The Little Morals works reflect something of the interpersonal confusion, turmoil and disruption that defined the years between late apartheid and the transition to a new democracy in South Africa. Laced with ‘rich art historical and theatrical references’ and ‘drawing on the visually dramatic grammar of old silent movies’ (Murinik, 2012: 153), the series has a farcical and melodramatic edge. The images in the portfolio might be read collectively as a self-reflexive joke – a witty visual discourse on the overblown interpersonal sagas of the
insulated bourgeoisie. In a conversation with Tracy Murinik and Julia Charlton in 2009, Hodgins recalled: ‘It was William who gave the title ‘Little Morals’ [after German philosopher Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia, 1951] which we all liked because it has two meanings: little morals, as in, ‘the people have very few morals’; on the other hand, it’s the Victorian thing of moral books, you know: ‘every story has a moral’… The plot is a simple one: a husband suspects his wife of an affair. He discovers them together. He shootsher in a fit of rage and jealousy, and finally presents her lover, who is a boxer, with one of her shoes as cold comfort’. (Murinik, 2012: 153)


Alexandra Dodd

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Sun, 12th Nov 2017

Aspire’s final auction for 2017 ended the year on a high note with a collection of top historical, modern and contemporary artworks.

A number of superb historic paintings came to auction, dating back to the late nineteenth century. Among them were works by Hugo Naudé, Anton Van Wouw, and Dorothy Kay. A fine collection of mid-twentieth century modern work by South Africa’s best-known artists at auction including Edoardo Villa, Maggie Laubser, Sydney Kumalo and Irma Stern were also on offer. The top lot by value was, however, a contemporary work. A superb drawing by world-renowned South African artist William Kentridge. Drawing from Mine (Soho with coffee plunger and cup) (1991), sold for R5 456 640, a record for a drawing by Kentridge in South Africa.

Viewing

Thursday 9 November 2017 | 10 am – 5 pm
Friday 10 November 2017 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 11 November 2017 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 12 November 2017 | 10 am – 3 pm

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