Sotheby’s October 2022 Modern & Contemporary African Auction

Sotheby’s is pleased to present the October 2022 Modern & Contemporary African Auction in London. Taking place in tandem with renowned art fairs, such as Frieze London and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the auction features a diverse selection of highly coveted and culturally significant works spanning the breadth of African history. A carefully assembled curatorial offering, the auction showcases iconic works by Modern Masters alongside the new and exciting production of trailblazing artists presently working on the continent. Highlights of the sale vary from highly sought-after contemporary artists to exceptional South African works from a prominent private Dutch art collection.

A splendid selection of works from this private collection includes an intimate portrait titled ‘Mother and Baby’ by the South African pioneer of social realism, George Pemba, one of Cecil Skotnes’s highly regarded incised abstract wooden panels (£8,000-12,000) titled ‘Burnt Land I’, described by his daughter Pippa as “a lovely late work”, as well as internationally renowned abstract artist Lucky Sibiya’s ‘Zulu Dancers’, an oil painting on carved panel boasting brilliant colour and characteristic movement of the human form. Sibiya’s work is beautifully curated in the collection alongside fellow Post-War & Contemporary artist Helen Sebidi’s large figurative composition of ‘A Vision of the Future II’ (£8,000-12,000), an extraordinary example of her signature vibrant colour palette.

Cecil Skotnes, Burnt Land I, £8,000-12,000


Helen Sebidi, A Vision of the Future II, £8,000-12,000


This remarkable collection also includes three standout works by Robert Hodgins, including ‘Red Armchairs’ (£12,000-18,000) which showcases his signature style of red and orange paint, influenced by Francis Bacon’s colour perception. Inspired by the teachings of South African artist Bill Ainslie, David Nthubu Koloane’s ‘Ordinary People’ series depicts the portraits of everyday commuters in Johannesburg, contrasted with the energetic jazz nightlife of the inner city seen in Sam Nhlengethwa’s ‘And A One And A Two And A Three’. Further standout artists from this prominent and impressive collection of South African art includes the respected works of Penny Siopis, Willie Bester, Deborah Bell and Wayne Barker.


Robert Hodgins, Red Armchairs, £12,000-18,000

In addition to this significant private collection, we are particularly excited to include phenomenal 20th century works ‘Blue Head’ (£18,000-24,000) and ‘Senegalese Women’ by the celebrated pioneer of modernism in South Africa, Gerard Sekoto. ‘Blue Head’ is a fine example of the distinctive Expressionism style adopted by Sekoto, depicting his strong use of radiant blue contrasted by the dark background of the portrait.

Gerard Sekoto, Blue Head, £18,000-24,000

One of the highlights of the sale is William Kentridge’s ‘Untitled (Healing To All in Global – black)’ (£50,000-70,000). The sale of this powerful image circumstantially coincides with his current exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Sotheby’s is also pleased to present two other works by Kentridge including two photolithographic prints titled ‘A Sonnet That I Never Wrote’ to which all proceeds will be donated to the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and Cape Town Opera via the Duet Endowment Trust. ­­


William Kentridge, Untitled (Healing To All in Global – black), £50,000-70,000

Another significant contemporary artist featured on our auction is visual activist Zanele Muholi. Their silver gelatin prints ‘Buhlalu I, The Decks, Cape Town, 2019’ (£12,000-18,000) and ‘Zonk’zizwe, Green Market Square, Cape Town, 2017’ (£12,000-18,000) forms part of their life-long project series, ‘Somnyama Ngonyama’, 2012-2020 (meaning ‘Hail, the Dark Lioness’) with Stevenson Gallery. Muholi’s self-portrait series redefines their journey through self-representation and self-expression in South African culture.

Please visit to view the complete catalogue. The auction will open for bidding on 14 October and close 20 October at 3pm BST.

Zanele Muholi, Buhlalu I, The Decks, Cape Town, 2019, £12,000-18,000


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