11/02/2021 General News, Live Auctions
From modernists Irma Stern, Maggie Laubser and JH Pierneef to internationally celebrated artists, Marlene Dumas, William Kentridge and Isaac Julien; from local legends Robert Hodgins and Cecil Skotnes to African masters Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba and Ablade Glover, Aspire Art Auctions’ brings an unparalleled offering of international and African art to its upcoming 4 March auction in a beautiful new setting in De Waterkant. Look out for works by Ephraim Ngatane, Misheck Masamvu and Moshekwa Langa as well as rapidly rising young stars like Turiya Magadlela (FNB art prize winner), and Blessing Ngobeni (Standard Bank Young Artist 2020 and the first artist at Everard Read’s prestigious new Leeuw Estates residency).
Dahlias and Fruit (pre-sale estimate: R4,500,000-6,000,000) is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant and sumptuous paintings that Irma Stern ever produced – A Feast for the Eye! Alive with colour and bursting with energy, it draws the viewer into the heart of its luscious array of flowers and fruits. This glorious still life has all the immediacy of a work painted with passion and in the heat of the moment, without hesitation.
Irma Stern, Dahlias and Fruit
Marlene Dumas is widely regarded as one of the most influential painters working today. Her engagement with art history and her experiments with representations of the body have drawn keen interest worldwide. Dumas’ Score (pre-sale estimate: R3,000,000-5,000,000) is an extraordinary painting that forges youthful vigour and the principles of Classical art into a dynamic statement about life, love and art. It was inspired by the central panel of Italian Renaissance artist, Andrea Mantegna’s The Adoration of the Magi, painted around 1460 and now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Dumas has nevertheless radically re-interpreted the original—an erotic body is transposed into the holy cave, and where the Virgin was surrounded by angels, the artist has kissed the canvas with her own lips coated in fuchsia and red oil paint.
Marlene Dumas, SCORE
William Kentridge’s Drawing from Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old (Mrs Eckstein, preparing for the day) (pre-sale estimate: R2,800,000-3,800,000) lights up the room with its joyous expression of life. It is expected to excite much interest given that Aspire Art Auctions has a long and impressive history in selling top works by this important artist, having twice captured the world record for his work—once when selling Drawing from Stereoscope (Double page, Soho in two rooms) for R6,600,400 in 2018, and R5,456,640 before that for Drawing from Mine (Soho with Coffee Plunger and Cup) in 2017.
William Kentridge, Drawing from Sobriety, Obesity and Growing Old (Mrs Eckstein, preparing for the day)
Kentridge’s expressive and rarely colourful Dutch Iris prints are highly sought-after. Expanded to a scale larger than life—118 x 81cm—the beauty of his Dutch Iris II (pre-sale estimate: R500,000-800,000) was envisioned as a four plate print series. The artist’s mastery of the complex medium is said to have achieved such heights and flexibility that it rivals painting.
Cecil Skotnes, Three Figures
Cecil Skotnes’ Three Figures (pre-sale estimate: R500,000-700,000) exemplifies the profound explorations that he undertook to imbue his work with an African sensibility, as opposed to following the artistic tenets of Europe.
Robert Hodgins, Figure by a River
Robert Hodgins, Songs my mother taught me
Robert Hodgins Figure by a River (pre-sale estimate: R500,000-800,00) is a bold, Rothko-esque depiction of a nude figure in the artist’s contemporary re-imagining of the Battle of Cascina, famously also depicted by Michelangelo. His delightful Songs my mother taught me (pre-sale estimate: R450,000-550,00) is, in all likelihood, an autobiographical painting drawing on his own childhood. Its playful composition and colour confirm him to be a great painter, able to turn the stuff of ordinary life into art and poetry—which is why he is so beloved.
Isaac Julien, Chameleon
In the international contemporary art world Isaac Julien shines a leading light. Renowned for immersive cinematic installations and photographs, his work pioneered the dialogue around cultural politics. A first to the South African market, the large-scale photographic work Chameleon (pre-sale estimate: R600,000-800,000) is part of the artist’s epic multi-media installation Ten Thousand Waves. Maggie Cheung, the Hong Kong-based actress, stars as the protagonist in a series of fictional scenarios that poetically explore the movement of people across countries and continents in a comment on unfinished journeys. Ten Thousand Waves was shown at various art institutions around the world including MoMA in New York and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. In 2017, it was displayed at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town as part of the inaugural exhibition, All things being equal…
David Goldblatt, Luke Kgatitsoe at his house
The focus on photography includes David Goldblatt’s Luke Kgatitsoe at his house, bulldozed in February 1984 by the government after the forced removal of the people of Magopa, a black-owned farm, which had been declared a ‘black spot’, Ventersdorp district, Transvaal, 21 October 1986 (pre-sale estimate: R150,000-250,000) which has been widely exhibited in major international solo exhibitions in New York, Barcelona, Brussels, Porto and Göteburg.
Of particular interest is a sequence of photographs by leading Australian artist, Tracey Moffat, entitled Up in the Sky, which will be exhibited concurrently at Tate Modern. The artist has generously donated these to raise funds for Molo Songololo and its valuable work that benefits thousands of children each year. Largely 12 to 17-years of age and from poor families and communities, child victims of sexual violence and exploitation, those at risk and their parents and families all benefit from the organisation’s vital work. Government and NGO service providers engaged in this vitally important work also greatly benefit from Molo Songololo’s initiatives. We invite you to join us in supporting this worthy cause by bidding for the love, care, dignity and safety of our country’s children.
Highlights from the extraordinary Silberberg Collection of paintings of early Johannesburg include a rare early watercolour of Sophiatown by Gerard Sekoto, two oil paintings by Pieter Wenning, William Timlin’s exquisite vision of the old Colosseum Theatre by night and a rare early painting by German-born, Hanns Ludwig Katz who, after an early stint in the atelier of Henri Matisse, emigrated to South Africa in 1936.
Gerard Sekoto, Sophiatown
This auction inaugurates our new Cape Town premises at 37A Somerset Road, De Waterkant. We invite you to join us at this initiatory opening. Top lots will be on view from Wednesday 24 February to Thursday 4 March.
Prior to this a selection of top lots will be on view at our Johannesburg gallery, 5 Harries Road, Illovo, from Monday 8 to Wednesday 17 February.
Viewing by appointment and all Covid-19 health regulations will be observed.