This Spring, Aspire returns to Cape Town with a much-anticipated auction of Modern and Contemporary art taking place over two days on 29 and 30 September. Presenting an outstanding collection of 132 artworks by 80 renowned artists, the auction will impress collectors with an exciting and considered selection.
With a strong focus on South African art, the sale also proudly represents artists from 8 African countries (Benin, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and international artists from Europe, the UK and USA. Reflecting the spirit of our time, more than half of the artworks on offer are by artists of colour and women artists feature prominently. Important and significant historical works are presented alongside a diverse collection of contemporary art which includes photography and new media work.
William Kentridge (South Africa 1955-), Garibaldi. Estimate: R700 000 – 900 000
Headlining the contemporary section is a special collection of ten lots of remarkable prints by William Kentridge, spanning nearly three decades. The leading lot is a monumental depiction of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Portrayed on a wooden horse, the image of the great general is comprised of twenty etchings mounted on raw cotton cloth folded and housed in a handmade box. Other prints like West Coast Landscapes, the Universal Archive series and The Battle Between Yes and No, showcase well-known themes, a wonderful range of printmaking techniques and the unsurpassed technical accomplishment for which the artist has gained worldwide recognition.
Works by eminent contemporary artists include paintings by Sam Nhlengethwa, Richard Mudariki, Nelson Makamo, Bambo Sibiya and Zemba Luzamba’s depictions of African pop culture. Dan Halter’s monumental work titled Rifugiato Mappa del Mondo made from plastic-mesh bags addresses themes of global migration and displacement. Large scale images by Mohau Modisakeng and Cyrus Kabiru alongside documentary works by Mickael Subotzky complete the photography collection.
Robert Hodgins (South Africa 1920-2010), Left out of Making Love in the Shadows. Estimate: R800 000 – R1 200 000
A highlight is a group of paintings by Robert Hodgins featuring the deliciously comic and poignant work Left out of Making Love in the Shadows in which he hints at the delights and dramas to be discovered in the shadows. Two early paintings from the Pink Suite: Trojan War titled Menelaus and Paris and Helen show off his signature style of expressive draughtsmanship and glorious colour and in Men with Structures I, Hodgins makes his acute sense of humour evident.
Georgina Gratrix (South Africa 1982-), Most Beautiful Girl. Estimate: R350 000 – 400 000
Of the formidable women’s voices featured in the sale is Penny Siopis with early works from her Shame series, Georgina Gratrix’s visually captivating Most Beautiful Woman in thick oil paint, Diane Victor’s monumental drawing Pasiphae and Turiya Magadlela’s large textile works. Also included is a beautiful early landscape scene painted by Gladys Mgudlandlu.
Turiya Magadlela (South Africa 1978-), Khala, Color, Colour, Imibala. Estimate: R70 000 – 90 000
The sculpture is a prominent and powerful medium in local art and the auction focuses on a unique and impressive body of sculptural works led by Edoardo Villa and Sydney Kumalo, arguably Africa’s greatest modernist sculptors.
Edoardo VIllia (South Africa 1915-2011), Sculpture III. Estimate: R950 000 – R1 250 000
Villa’s powerful early work Sculpture III from 1969/1970 is notable for its balance of rest and momentum, achieved through the sculptor’s mastery of generous proportions, spatial dynamics and highly finished surfaces. While his forms are abstract, they retain a sensuous organic quality that references the human body and social interaction.
Sydney Kumalo (South Africa 1935-1988), Mythological Rider II (Study for Mythological Rider). Estimate: R1 000 000 – R1 500 000
Study for Mythical Rider II, produced in 1970, is typically a major motif in Sydney Kumalo’s oeuvre, famous for his powerful figurative bronzes. Drawing on his deep pride in Zulu traditions and the rich cultural influences of growing up in Sophiatown, Kumalo has created a poignant figure, with hands extended in supplication to the universe – an impressive symbol of humanity in harmony with nature. Another sculpture by this artistic master title Large Seated Woman is also featured.
Brett Murray (South Africa 1961-), Donkey (from the Sleep Sleep series). Estimate: R300 000 – R450 000
Key sculptural works are Lucas Sithole’s moving Don’t worry your father will come, Brett Murray’s Donkey first exhibited on Sleep Sleep in 2005 and Willie Bester’s sculptural tableau, Transition, which captures his unique approach in using found objects to evoke the gritty realities of life experienced first-hand on the streets of South African cities. Other contemporary sculptors represented are Norman Catherine, Dylan Lewis, Gerald Machona, Stefanus Rademeyer and ceramist Nico Masemola. Look out for Miniature Figure III by British Modernist, Lynn Chadwick RA, who in 1956 was awarded the coveted prize for sculpture at the 28th Venice Biennale.
Erik Laubser (South Africa 1927-2013), Sunset over the Overberg. Estimate: R200 000 – R300 000
Art historical treasures for seasoned collectors include two exquisite still life paintings painted in 1948 by Erik Laubscher during his time at the Anglo-French Art Centre. Paintings from the artist’s ‘London Period’ are extremely rare and remain highly sought after, as well as a collection of early, small-scale Alexis Preller works showing the artist’s experiments in subject, style and medium.
J. H Pierneef (South Africa 1886-1957 ), Extensive landscape, near Golden Gate. Estimate: R800 000 – R1 200 000
Landscapes have always been an integral part of South African painting and remain an important collecting category. A selection of important and valuable paintings by master landscapist J.H. Pierneef alongside Ruth Everard Haden, Maud Sumner and the much-loved Cape painter Hugo Naudé magnificently capture the beauty, light and uniqueness of the local landscape.
Available on auction for the first time locally is a striking, large-scale still-life painting by leading contemporary Swiss artist Uwe Wittwer. The artist’s work rarely comes to auction and Aspire is proud to debut Wittwer with this exceptional work.
Gerald Chukwuma (Nigeria 1973-), Adam and Eve. Estimate: R80 000 – R120 000
Other newcomers to the auction in South Africa are Kenyan artist Richard Kimathi and Cameroonian Moustapha Baïdi Oumarou. Already established at auction in Nigeria and having featured in London and Paris, Nigerian artist Gerald Chukwuma debuts locally with Adam and Eve – a monumental work painstakingly created from wood and recycled objects.
The live auction will take place from Aspire’s exquisite new gallery space at 37A Somerset Road in De Waterkant. Buyers are invited to join for in-room bidding or make use of telephone or Aspire’s real-time online bidding platforms. The preview exhibition is currently on display in the gallery and can be viewed from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm. A fully illustrated auction catalogue is available and can be downloaded at www.aspireart.net