Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Boy with a yellow cap
Lot 42
Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Boy with a yellow cap
Sold for £102,000 (US$ 164,625) inc. premium

Lot Details
Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993)
Boy with a yellow cap
oil on board
40 x 29.5cm (15 3/4 x 11 5/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Professor Murray Schoonraad
    Thence by direct descent to the current owner

    EXHIBITED:
    Pretoria, The Association of Friends of the Pretoria Art Museum Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum, March-April 1973, cat. no. 78

    LITERATURE:
    B. Lindop, Gerard Sekoto, (Randburg, 1988), illus. p. 61

    The present lot is one of the artist's earliest oil paintings, dating from his Sophiatown period, 1939-1942.

    Following his father's death in 1938, Sekoto gave up his teaching career and moved in with his cousins in Sophiatown, Johannesburg in 1939. There he decided to devote himself to painting, using poster paints on brown paper and cardboard. Recognising his talent, Brother Roger Castle offered him free art classes at St Peter's School, and introduced him to the artist Judith Gluckman, who was teaching there:

    "Judith Gluckman showed me how to use oil colours. How to mix them, how to use the palette and palette knife with various sorts of brushes and how to prepare canvas and to put it over the stretcher. She never imposed any style nor tried to convert me in any philosophical direction. After she had shown me the effects of oil upon canvas of different types - or on boards - I then simply took a direction of my own as I wished". (the artist, as quoted in Lindop 1988, p.60)

    Brother Roger also organised Sekoto's first exhibition at the Gainsborough Galleries, and encouraged him to submit paintings to the South African Academy. In 1940, history was made when the Johannesburg Art Gallery purchased Yellow Houses, the first work by a black artist to be acquired by the museum. However, when Sekoto went to see his picture hanging, he was refused entry to the building and had to work as a cleaner in order to view the work. In 1942, Sekoto left Sophiatown for District Six, Cape Town, to further his artistic career, but was already planning on leaving South Africa for Europe, never to return.

    The present lot can be seen in a photograph by Constance Stuart Larrabee of Sekoto in a studio, possibly preparing for an exhibition, along with Song of the Pick and Guga Mzimba, which dates from the same period and was sold in these rooms on 23 May 2007 (lot 117) (Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, Smithsonian Institution).

    Prof. Murray Schoonraad played an important role in the establishment of the Art Archives, a research and documentation centre for South African art at the University of Pretoria, where he lectured in history of art. His publications include Walter Whall Battiss (1974) and New Group 1938-1954 (1988).

    We are grateful to Barbara Lindop for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.

Saleroom notices

  • The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) has declined an export permit for this lot. Therefore it is not subject to VAT on either the hammer price or the buyer's premium. It is available for viewing at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg, RSA. Please contact the department for further information.
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