Wed, 14th Sep 2022 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

 
Lot 64
 
Lot 64 - George Pemba (South Africa 1912-2001)

64

George Pemba (South Africa 1912-2001)
Pennies from Heaven

oil on board

Artwork date: 1986
Signature details: signed and dated bottom right; inscribed with the title on the reverse

Sold for R591,760
Estimated at R300,000 - R400,000


Condition Report

The condition of the work is very good.

The overall condition of the frame is good. Chip on the top left corner of the frame and minor scratches on each corner.

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.

 

oil on board

Artwork date: 1986
Signature details: signed and dated bottom right; inscribed with the title on the reverse

(1)

36.5 x 50 cm; framed size: 61.5 x 75.5 x 5.5 cm

Provenance:

Willie and Evelyn Bester Collection.

Acquired around 2000 through an exchange with another collector.

Notes:

George Pemba's work was first exhibited at the Feather Market Hall in Port Elizabeth in 1928, when he was only sixteen. In 1934, his drawings caught the attention of landscape painter, Ethel Smythe, who, in tutoring him, introduced him to the work of Rembrandt van Rijn, Diego Velázquez and the Impressionists. Pemba received first prize in the May Esther Bedford Competition in 1937, with fellow artist Gerard Sekoto awarded second prize. His first commission came in 1950, in the form of a portrait of the esteemed educator and activist, Professor Davidson Don Tengo Jabavu for the University of Fort Hare.

Pemba’s “respect for the value of good drawing, inventive composition, accomplished handling of paint and an overarching sense of vision”[1] has been praised by Hayden Proud, then Senior Curator of Historical Paintings and Sculpture at the South African National Gallery and co-author of the authoritative George Pemba Retrospective Exhibition and monograph. His ability to identify with his fellow human beings, and his immense compassion in capturing their experiences, has made him one of the foremost chroniclers of the lives of ordinary South Africans.

Another version of the subject Pennies from Heaven, painted in 1980, is illustrated in the Pemba monograph with the caption: ‘A wish-fulfillment, dreams coming true and heavenly rewards showering from the sky is the basis of a number of paintings like this, produced over a number of years. They reflect the power of hope in the face of great poverty and deprivation in the artist’s community.’[2] With its crowd of curious onlookers gathering around, it captures a more communal, everyday experience.

The present painting, from 1986, where this humble woman has turned to the open window with arms outstretched to the sky, invokes a direct relationship with the Provider, and situates the work within an august tradition of religious paintings that depict a close relationship between humans and their gods and the fulfilling of ardent wishes, dreams and prayers. In the tradition of religious depictions, she too, like Mary, Mother of God, is dressed in blue. The blue sky, bedspread and painting provide the cool tones in contrast to the room, flooded with warm light, and against which the much prayed-for golden pennies shimmer.

The notion of pennies from heaven represents unexpected good fortune, as in a sudden windfall. The expression may have originated with the song and motion picture so named in 1936, popularised by Bing Crosby.

Emma Bedford

[1] Proud, H. in Proud, Hayden and Feinberg, Barry. Eds. (1996). George Pemba Retrospective Exhibition. Cape Town: South African National Gallery and the Mayibuye Centre, p.16.

[2] Huddleston, S. (1996). George Pemba: Against All Odds. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishers, p.135.

Collections:

The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably, De Beers Centenary Art Gallery, University of Fort Hare.; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town.; Johannesburg Art Gallery.; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth and The World Bank Collection, Washington, D.C.

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Join us on the day of the auction to follow and bid in real-time.

The auction will be live-streamed with an audio-visual feed.

Auction: 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Wed, 14th Sep 2022

 

Aspire Art will impress collectors with this focused, boutique-style auction. Including 81 carefully selected lots the sale boasts impressive examples by many of South Africa’s most celebrated artists. A fine selection of William Kentridge works, including two original drawings, Eduardo Villa sculptures, painting by Robert Hodgins and Walter Battiss and a wonderful early Penny Siopis drawing are on offer.

Also featured are two special sections – Black Modernism and Photography. Aspire has firmly cemented itself as a champion of both these collecting segments and collectors will be spoilt for choice with a rare drawing by Dumile Feni as well as works by other modernists including Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba and Lucas Sithole and photographs by David Goldblatt, Mohau Modisakeng and Simphiwe Ndzube amongst others.

Viewing

The exhibition preview is open to the public.

Viewing is from Friday 9 to Wednesday 14 September.

Weekdays from 09h30 to 16h30, Saturdays from 09h30 to 14h00, and Sundays by appointment.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE:


 

Logistics

While we endeavour to assist our Clients as much as possible, we require artwork(s) to be delivered and/or collected from our premises by the Client. In instances where a Client is unable to deliver or collect artwork(s), Aspire staff is available to assist in this process by outsourcing the services to one of our preferred Service Providers. The cost for this will be for the Client’s account, with an additional Handling Fee of 15% charged on top of the Service Provider’s invoice.

Aspire Art provides inter-company transfer services for its Clients between Johannesburg and Cape Town branches. These are based on the size of the artwork(s), and charged as follows:

Small (≤60x90x10 cm): R400

Medium (≤90x120x15 cm): R800

Large (≤120x150x20 cm): R1,200

Over-size: Special quote

 

Should artwork(s) be collected or delivered to/from Clients by Aspire Art directly, the following charges will apply:

Collection/delivery ≤20km: R400

Collection/delivery 20km>R800≤50km

Collection/delivery >50km: Special quote

 

Packaging

A flat fee of R100 will be added to the invoice for packaging of unframed works on paper.

 


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For collectors based outside South Africa who purchase regularly from Aspire Art’s auctions in South Africa, it does not make sense to ship artworks individually or per auction and pay shipping every time you buy another work. Consequently, we have developed a special collectors’ shipping package to assist in reducing shipping costs and the constant demands of logistics arrangements.

For buyers from outside South Africa, we will keep the artworks you have purchased in storage during the year and then ship all the works you have acquired during the year together, so the shipping costs are reduced. At the end of the annual period, we will source various quotes to get you the best price, and ship all your artworks to your desired address at once.

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Collections

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Handling Fee

Aspire Art charges a 15% Handling Fee on all Logistics, Framing, Restoration and Conservation arranged by Aspire.