Wednesday 21st March at Bonhams in London. Featuring a strong selection of works, it includes a still life of Gladioli and Fruit by Irma Stern which leads the auction with a pre-sale estimate of £80,000 – 120,000.
Executed towards the end of her life in 1960, the present lot is an excellent example of how well Stern selected different varieties of both flowers and fruit to create beautiful and interesting compositions. Here the green stems of the gladioli are energetically leaping out of the disproportionately small vase and out into the bright yellow room, which we imagine, Stern is painting in. A variety of tropical fruits are scattered around the base of the vase on a deep red and green tablecloth. The amount of energy within the painting is nonetheless evident with the fruit almost spilling over the edge of the table and canvas. Stern’s use of warm, Mediterranean colours in this still life is evidence that her trip to Spain in 1960 added a significant amount of artistic energy to her work.
Bonhams are also delighted to be offering Profile figures by Alexis Preller (estimate £50,000-80,000). Part of the profile figure series which he completed in 1967, the present lot is remarkably similar in composition to his earlier work The Gateway of 1949. The two heads facing inwards at one another are based on a small wooden carving originating from Kenya which the artist affectionally referred to as his Household God. Rich in colour this version is also a good example of Preller’s obsession with both Ancient Greece and astronomy.
The March sale also includes a bustling township scene by Gerard Sekoto (estimate £40,000 – 60,000). Born in the eastern Transvaal in 1913, Sekoto moved to Sophiatown in 1939 as a young man following his father’s death. A township renowned for its vibrant black culture, his experience there is portrayed in this current work. Energetically painted with a palette knife, the orange and pink tones hint at the scorching summer weather. Deliberately painted with a romantic quality, Sekoto has overridden the harsh reality that many experienced in the townships.
Further highlights of the South African Sale include a fine Nisini cast of The Bushman Hunter by Anton van Wouw. One of his most recognisable sculptures it is estimated £40,000 – 60,000. St Francis of Assisi by the Polly Street artist Sydney Kumalo (estimate £30,000 – 50,000) and African Madonna by Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff (estimate £30,000 – 50,000).