Friday 20th October 2017,

ART AUCTION

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Bonhams South African Art Sale Led By Jacob Pierneef

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Bonhams South African Art Sale Led By Jacob Pierneef

Bushveld Scene with Trees and Anthills, a landscape painting by the famous South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef topped South African Art Sale in London, selling for US$110,399. Image: Bonhams

ART AUCTION

A Landscape Painting by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, One of South Africa’s Celebrated Artists Led South African Art Sale as Irma Stern’s The Red Dress Went Unsold

BY KAZAD

LONDON- Expectations were high before the South African Art Sale at Bonhams, London that The Red Dress by one of South Africa’s Irma Stern would be the top seller at an auction that was filled with excitement weeks before it happened. Disappointingly, those who were expecting the painting to make record auction prices got their hopes shattered as the painting ended up unsold. That setback, however, did not stop collectors who competed to buy some of the amazing artworks on display during the South African Art Sale.

Topping the South African Art sale is Bushveld Scene with Trees and Anthills, a landscape painting by the celebrated South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef.  At the foreground of the painting is a tree with all its branches spread across the canvas. In the middle ground and distance are more trees. Under the trees are anthills of various sizes.  The painting with its beautiful harmonious color rendition is one of the important signatures of Pierneef’s paintings. Bushveld Scene With Trees and Anthills sold for US$ 110,399 (£81,250) inc. premium at the South African Art Sale.

Congolese Maid by Gerard Sekotosold for US$ 84,922 (£62,500) inc. premium during the Bonhams South African Art Sale.

Image: Congolese Maid, an oil on canvas painting by Gerard Sekoto sold for US$ 84,922 during Bonhams South African Art Sale in London

Gerard Sekoto, Congolese Maid. Oil on canvas 60 x 49cm (23 5/8 x 19 5/16in). Image: Bonhams

Congolese Maid, an oil on canvas painting by Gerard Sekoto is another top seller at the South African Art Sale in London.  Painted around the 1960s, a period colloquially referred to as Sekoto’s ‘Blue Head’ period, the painting is a portrait of a woman done in Ultramarine blue. This painting is just one in a series of portraits by the artist based on this theme.  He produced a number of these portraits in blue and black paint, picking out the areas of high relief, including cheekbones, the ridge of the nose, the forehead in white. This approach to creating the portraits and the selection of colors the artist notes allowed him to create stronger contrasts than if he used a more naturalistic palette. In a letter to Barbara Lindop dated May 6, 1986, Gerard Sekoto explains his process:

The poster colours I used were thick, but could be diluted very thin, almost like water colours when needed. But seeing they were thus thick, I took advantage and used them almost as oil…the reason for my using the blue was merely because I chose it and that it was sufficiently strong to contrast with warmer colours. Also I could make it into various tones with white and could vary other colours with it. Yet I just felt it dominant to use for the positive expressions of my heads

Although Irma Stern’s The Red Dress was not sold during the South African Art Sale, some of her other artworks got collectors on the edge of their seats. Zanzibar Street Scene, a gouache painting sold for US$ 67,938 (£50,000) inc. premium. The painting depicts a market with terracotta vessels on tables. The vivid colors and flowing brushstrokes communicate a sensuousness to the breathy excess of Stern’s textual description.

Here are the top 10 artworks sold during the South African Art Sale at Bonhams, London. All sales include premium.

Image: Shepherd, a bronze sculpture by South African artist Ezrom Kgobokanyo Sebata Legae sold for sold for US$ 44,159 during Bonhams South African Art Sale in London


Ezrom Kgobokanyo Sebata Legae, Shepherd 1991. Bronze: Shepherd measures 112 x 60.2 x 40.5 cm; goat measures 50.8 x 62 x 18cm. Image: Bonhams

  1. Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, Bushveld Scene with Trees and Anthills. Oil on canvas 16 15/16 x 23 1/16in. Sold for US$ 110,399 (£81,250) inc. premium.
  2. Gerard Sekoto, Congolese Maid. Oil on canvas 60 x 49cm (23 5/8 x 19 5/16in). Sold for US$ 84,922  (£62,500) inc. premium
  3. Irma Stern, Zanzibar Street Scene. Gouache 16 1/8 x 13 3/4in. Sold for US$ 67,938 (£50,000) inc. premium.
  4. Gerard Sekoto, Woman in profile. Oil on canvas 65 x 54cm (25 9/16 x 21 1/4in). Sold for US$ 54,350 (£40,000) inc. premium
  5. Maggie (Maria Magdalena) Laubser. Landscape with Houses, Figures and a Cow. Oil on composition board 46 x 40cm (18 1/8 x 15 3/4in). Sold for US$ 50,953 (£37,500 ) inc. premium
  6. Erik (Frederik Bester Howard) Laubscher, Still life. Oil on canvas laid to a wooden panel, 45 x 50.5cm (17 11/16 x 19 7/8in). Sold for US$ 44,159 (£32,500) inc. premium
  7. Ezrom Kgobokanyo Sebata Legae, Shepherd (Man with Goat), 1991. Bronze , shepherd measures 112 x 60.2 x 40.5 cm; goat measures 50.8 x 62 x 18cm. Sold for US$ 44,159 (£32,500) inc. premium
  8. Gerard Sekoto, Female head study. Gouache 54.5 x 37cm (21 7/16 x 14 9/16in). Sold for US$ 40,763 (£30,000) inc. premium
  9. Gerard Sekoto, Portrait of a Child. Gouache on board 49.5 x 31cm (19 1/2 x 12 3/16in). Sold for US$ 35,667 (£26,250) inc. premium
  10. Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, South West African Landscape.  Oil on canvas 40.5 x 55.5cm (15 15/16 x 21 7/8in). Sold for US$ 33,969 (£25,000) inc. premium

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