'Native Study (Mapogges)' signed 'PRELLER' (upper right) oil on canvas 61 x 71cm (24 x 27 15/16in).
PROVENANCE A private collection
EXHIBITED Johannesburg, Johannesburg Art Gallery, The Empire Exhibition, 1936
LITERATURE Empire Exhibition catalogue, (Johannesburg, 1936), illustrated in black and white, p.74 E. Berman and K. Nel, Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows, (Johannesburg, 2009), illustrated in black and white, p.29
In December 1935, Preller came across a group of women field workers in traditional dress brass neck adornments and beaded garments just outside of Pretoria. Entranced by the scene, Preller followed them home one day to their village and discovered that they were part of the Ndundza of the Southern Ndebele, locally known as the "Mapoggas". Preller's exploration of the Mapogga theme would thread through much of his career, but this first scene that he observed and painted "would become the subject of a work that he considered at the time to be one of his most successful compositions".
The work was also highly acclaimed by the selection panel for the South African art section of the 1936 Empire Exhibition at Milner Park, Johannesburg, in which the painting was included as an exemplar of the best in South African art.
BIBLIOGRAPHY E. Berman and K. Nel, Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows, (Johannesburg, 2009), p.27