31st Oct, 2021 11:00

Art, Life and Love: The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya (Live Auction)

  Lot 9
Lot 9 - William Kentridge (South Africa 1955-)


William Kentridge (South Africa 1955-)
Landscape with crouching figure

charcoal, pastel and gold ink on paper

Artwork date: 1986
Signature details: signed and dated bottom left

Sold for R2,048,400
Estimated at R1,000,000 - R1,500,000


charcoal, pastel and gold ink on paper

Artwork date: 1986
Signature details: signed and dated bottom left


62.5 x 90 cm; framed size: 101 x 129 x 5 cm


Private collection, Johannesburg.


Rare early Kentridge works such as the three drawings from the late 1980s in the Xayiya collection, seldom come to market and are highly sought after. Landscape with crouching figure, the earliest example in their collection was produced just a year after Kentridge’s triptych in charcoal, pastel and gouache on paper entitled The Conservationist’s Ball: Culling, Game watching, Taming, which famously won the national Rembrandt Award in 1985 and is now housed in the Rembrandt Collection at the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch. Kentridge later won the Gold Medal in the 1991 Cape Town Triennial for his film, Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old, now also in the Rembrandt Collection at the Rupert Museum.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa – where he still lives – William Kentridge is the son of world-renowned advocate Sir Sydney Kentridge, a South African-born lawyer, judge and member of the Bar of England and Wales. The latter practised law in South Africa and the United Kingdom from the 1940s until his retirement in 2013. In South Africa he played a leading role in a number of the most significant political trials in the apartheid-era, including the Treason Trial of Nelson Mandela and the 1978 inquest into the death of Steve Biko. Sir Kentridge's wife, Felicia Kentridge, was also a leading anti-apartheid lawyer, who co-founded the South African Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in 1979. The LRC represented black South Africans against the apartheid state and overturned numerous discriminatory laws; she was involved in some of the Centre's landmark legal cases.

William Kentridge studied Political Science and African Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand before enrolling at the famous theatre school of Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He furthered his artistic studies at the Johannesburg Art Foundation. Through his powerful drawings, many of which have been used in his ground-breaking films, he has become world famous for his commentary on the political transformation of his home country.

Here, a tarred road invites us into a highveld landscape. A drama seems to be unfolding simultaneously across an open countryside and beneath an ornate Victorian ceiling with suspended lighting. A figure sits crouched in the open veld, with body partially reflected in a gilt-framed mirror.

African veld exists side by side with familiar colonial interiors while urban structures like traffic signage and café window reflections occur alongside a mine dump in this inner city location. Such surprising juxtapositions confirm the artist’s predilection for showing several disparate scenes developing alongside each other, and the ability of many diverse realities to coincide.

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Auction: Art, Life and Love: The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya (Live Auction), 31st Oct, 2021

This October, 2021, we are honoured to present Art, Life and Love:  The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya, a single owner auction showcasing the cultivated taste and style of Nwabisa Xayiya.

The auction offers examples by great modernists as well as exciting contemporary pieces. Notable is a selection of work by George Pemba. There is also a set of impressive urban scenes and portraits by Gerard Sekoto, a rarely seen Alexis Preller, a glorious Robert Hodgins, and varied examples of Dumile Feni’s work. Within the contemporary offering, there are outstanding works by Blessing Ngobeni, Sam Nhlengethwa, William Kentridge, Teresa Firmino, Athi-Patra Ruga, Kudzanai Chiurai, Nelson Makamo, Owusu-Ankomah and Nicholas Hlobo.


Lots will be on view at the Xayiya residence: 63 4th Street, Houghton, Johannesburg
Saturday 23 October to Saturday 30 October from 10 am to 6 pm

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