13th Sep, 2023 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

  Lot 29
Lot 29 - Georgina Gratrix (South Africa 1982-)


Georgina Gratrix (South Africa 1982-)
Most Beautiful Girl

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 2010
Literature: Vice online, Georgina Gratrix, written by Linda Stupart. [Available at: from https://www.vice.com/en/article/bndmm8/georgina-gratrix-624-v17n11]

Sold for R434,625
Estimated at R380,000 - R420,000


oil on canvas

Artwork date: 2010
Literature: Vice online, Georgina Gratrix, written by Linda Stupart. [Available at: from https://www.vice.com/en/article/bndmm8/georgina-gratrix-624-v17n11]


110 x 80 cm; framed size: 114 x 84 x 7 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.

Private collection, Johannesburg.

WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Cape Town.


Sensational and dramatic, striking and expressive, Georgina Gratrix’s thickly painted canvases continue to challenge the limits of painterly representation. Distorting shape and form, she offers a new reality – which often parodies contemporary popular culture. In a recent interview, Gratrix explains: “My work is about understanding painting. It’s about a materiality but also, I think, in its most basic form, it’s still lifes and portraiture and using them as frameworks to understand my frame of reference, whether it’s very personal or a broader worldview. It’s using these frameworks to find an aesthetically pleasing way to understand my own world” [1].

In this evocative painting, wryly titled Most Beautiful Girl, the excessive application of oil paint forms the layers of make-up and decoration on her characters’ faces, creating an expressiveness that is both compelling and alluring. Here, paint becomes matter as materiality and image collide. Of her portraits, Gratrix says: “Beauty is something that really doesn’t interest me at all. I’m more interested in unpicking beauty and moving it towards something that’s uncomfortable, or it’s so beautiful that it’s not” [2].

[1] [Online] Lifestyling, Georgina Gratrix, painting the now, written by Sarah Jayne Fell, 1 April 2021 [Available at: https://lifestyling.co.za/culture/2021/04/georgina-gratrix-painting-the-now/]

[2] Ibid.


Georgina Gratrix recently presented solo exhibitions at a number of South African museums, namely The Cult of Ugliness at the Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town in 2022; Georgina Gratrix: The Reunion at Norval Foundation in Cape Town in 2021; and THIS MUST BE THE PLACE at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts in Durban in 2021.

Group exhibitions in 2022 include; Would you still love me if I painted parrots all day? at Dirimart, Istanbul; Inner Landscapes at Bloom Galerie, Geneva and Fifty Sounds at Galerie Kiche in Seoul.

In 2018 Gratrix received the Discovery Prize at the 50th anniversary edition of Art Brussels and the Ampersand Fellowship Award and also completed a residency in Oaxaca, Mexico, in association with Centro de las Artes Augustín (CASA) that same year.

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