Sun, 12th Nov 2017 17:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 96
Lot 96 - Sydney Kumalo (South Africa 1935-1988)


Sydney Kumalo (South Africa 1935-1988)


Artwork date: 1987
Signature details: from an edition of 3

Sold for R568,400
Estimated at R200,000 - R300,000

Condition Report

Patina worn in areas, crack along waiste, previously repaired, painted in areas, restored, would benefot from conservation.

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.



Artwork date: 1987
Signature details: from an edition of 3


93 x 55 x 22 cm

Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg.


Sydney Kumalo was born in Sophiatown in 1935, a place that was a cultural melting pot in the 50s before its residents were forcibly moved by apartheid authorities, as the settlement was seen as an affront to its idea of separate development. He was trained at the famous Polly Street School, first by the likes of Cecil Skotnes who became his friend, mentor and colleague, and later by renowned sculptor Edoardo Villa. Kumalo’s art making was in many respects influenced by the environment in which he was born. Sophiatown was an urban environment which was determinedly mixed-race and multicultural. In his practice, Kumalo found himself increasingly incorporating his African culture with a modernist, more Western style.It is in this aspect that the influences of his teachers and mentors Skotnes and Villa become evident in Kumalo’s work. Praise Singer 1 represents this well in his use of the traditional Western sculptural medium of bronze, to tap into the traditional praise singing culture of his people. Praise singing is often associated with royalty, whereby a praise singer or Zulu imbongi will render a performance to a traditional leader, such as a chief or king, in recognition of the important role such leaders occupy as luminaries for their societies. That was a way of communicating his influences when it comes to art making. He recognised his own double heritage as an rtist, trained in Western techniques by his teachers such as Skotnes, and yet drawing heavily from his African culture. Praise Singer 1 is also notable in that the work was commissioned for the Natal Opera House in 1987, and was completed shortly before Kumalo’s death in 1988 – the only cast of the work to be completed by the artist before his death. Having been commissioned by a major theatre controlled by the State in the apartheid era, when black artists were denied many institutional opportunities, can only mean that Kumalo was in a league of his own.

Edward Tsumele

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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.


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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Small (≤60x90x10 cm): R400

Medium (≤90x120x15 cm): R800

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Over-size: Special quote


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