Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Blue head
Lot 70*
Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Blue head
Sold for £28,800 (US$ 48,407) inc. premium
Lot Details
(n/a) Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993)
Blue head
signed 'G Sekoto' and dated '61' (lower right)
oil on canvas
61 x 50cm (24 x 19 11/16in).


  • In 1960 Sekoto made a portrait drawing of Miriam Makeba, who had just arrived in New York as the lead role in the musical production ‘King Kong’. Makeba was interviewed and featured in the February 1960 issue of Time magazine.

    It is not known if the Blue Head series of portraits which were commenced in 1960 were partly inspired by Sekoto’s awareness of Makeba’s instant fame, but certainly his desire to portray people of African origin with innate dignity and beauty is clearly stated by him to Barbara Lindop in a series of letters during the 1980’s. This particular Blue period lasted until 1965 and forms a coherent and identifiable stylistic body of work.

    "The reason for my using 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 varyother colours with it. Yet I just felt it dominant to use for the positive expression of my heads."

    "Those heads do not easily express themselves to a foreigner or even amongst themselves - each one's own a state to herself. Hence even that twinkle of irony" (the artist, as quoted in B. Lindop, Gerard Sekoto, Randburg, 1988, pgs. 212 & 214).

Saleroom notices

  • Although Miriam Makeba did play the lead role in King Kong, the musical did not travel to New York. The singer travelled to New York as a recording artist.
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