13th Sep, 2023 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

  Lot 42
Lot 42 - Edoardo Villa (South Africa 1915-2011)


Edoardo Villa (South Africa 1915-2011)
Abstract figure

painted steel

Artwork date: 1990
Signature details: signed and dated bottom right area

Sold for R655,000
Estimated at R600,000 - R900,000


painted steel

Artwork date: 1990
Signature details: signed and dated bottom right area


168 x 130 x 88 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.


Over six decades, Maestro Edoardo Villa created a legendary body of work that contributed to the global conversation on Modern sculpture. Throughout his prolific career, Villa's genius lay not only in his remarkable technical skill but also in his ability to intelligently fuse the elements of African sculptural tradition, which had a profound influence on shaping his artistic vision, with new technological innovation.

This impressive sculpture shows Villa’s return (at the age of 75) to creating larger volumetric works in the 1990s and affirms the artist’s ability to innovatively construct complex formal structures, as well as his incredible mastery of working with steel, on a large scale.

LEFT | Edoardo Villa, Figure, 1966.

RIGHT| Edoardo Villa, Gaurdian, 1966.

Abstract Figure is a grand hard-edge, abstracted construction of welded disc-like steel shapes. Its hieratic nature is intensified by an assemblage of pure geometric forms and curved planes. The work references Villa’s earlier sculptures like Guardian and Figure from the 1960s, in which the artist simplified and abstracted the human form.

Edoardo Villa in the courtyard of the Egon Guenther Gallery with African Figure (1966) in the background

Villa was drawn to the dynamic lines, stylised representations and spiritual resonances found in African sculptures, which he integrated into many of his own creations. Abstract Figure shares these characteristics while manifesting an affective power and instant sense of presence.

Marelize van Zyl


In 1990, the same year this sculpture was produced, Edoardo Villa was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Pretoria.


The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably, the Rupert Museum, Stellenbosch.; Edoardo Villa Museum, Pretoria.; Rand Merchant Bank, Johannesburg. Norval Foundation, Cape Town.; Javett Art Centre, Pretoria.; Iziko South African National Gallery.; Sanlam Art Collection, Johannesburg.; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg.; University of Cape Town, Cape Town.; Durban Art Gallery, Durban.; The South African Reserve Bank, Johannesburg.; University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.; Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town.; Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg.

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