Mon, 31st Oct 2016 20:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 99
Lot 99 - David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)


David Goldblatt (South Africa 1930-2018)
A Cairn, possibly a grave, Leeuwenvalley, Moordenaar’s Karoo, Western Cape

archival pigment ink on 100% cotton rag paper

Artwork date: 2002
Signature details: signed, dated '24 April 2002' and numbered 2/6 in pencil in the margin

Sold for R147,784
Estimated at R80,000 - R120,000

Condition Report

Good. To be examined out of the frame.

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.


archival pigment ink on 100% cotton rag paper

Artwork date: 2002
Signature details: signed, dated '24 April 2002' and numbered 2/6 in pencil in the margin


print size: 98.5 x 123 cm


Taken together, these two photographs by one of the doyens of South African documentary fine art photography serve as an important indicator of Goldblatt’s sensibilities, and the framing of his work, over the last phase of his long and distinguished career.

In particular what has preoccupied his landscape work is the question of what constitutes a place in the South African landscape. That is, what could make the spaces he photographs into places that belong to people, and who belong in them – that provide a sense of home, or homeliness?

The 2003 view of Johannesburg from the Southwest provides a starkly dramatic examination of the alienation and division that has always characterised the city, a view which Goldblatt has pictured in different ways over his career. The shanties in the foreground, habitations pitched up against the massive pylons of the power grid, are separated by a huge wall of land from the skyscrapers of the old city – a wall of land put there by the hollowing out of the city’s mineral resources in the era of high mining capital.

The second photograph on auction is at the opposite end of the landscape spectrum, a Karoo ‘terra nullius’ occupied only by a rudimentary cairn which may mark a grave site, in the ‘Moordenaar’s Karoo’. Goldblatt’s subtlety in raising the issues of occupation of such land, and its depiction as brutal, empty of humanity and agency, is accomplished with the gravitas and elegiac beauty which marks his work.

James Sey

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, Mon, 31st Oct 2016

The line-up for our inaugural sale included an extraordinary selection of art. Works ranged from JH Pierneef’s breathtaking Karoo near Hofmeyer, painted in 1930, to Dan Halter’s 2006, ultraviolet light, Pefection. 

Sculptures varied from Edoardo Villa’s acknowledgment of French artist, Aristide Maillol to Wim Botha’s heads that draw on classical and contemporary sources and Ed Young’s cheeky nude self-portrait. Also included were impressive photographs by award-winners, David Goldblatt and Pieter Hugo.

The auction set an impressive standard, with an outstanding sell-through rate of over 75% across 121 lots. The top lot of the sale was Alexis Preller’s exceptional Profile Figures (Mirrored Image), selling for over  R7-million. Record sales were achieved for Villa, Goldblatt, and Hugo, amongst others.


Friday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 4 pm


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