Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Two men sitting on a pavement
Lot 38*
Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Two men sitting on a pavement
Sold for £52,500 (US$ 89,286) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993)
Two men sitting on a pavement
signed 'G SEKOTO' (lower left)
oil on board
36 x 46cm (14 3/16 x 18 1/8in).

Footnotes

  • The style that Sekoto developed in the early 1940s was sombre in mood, with dark reds and yellows coming through a dramatic chiaroscuro as seen in Two men sitting on a pavement, is clearly indebted to early twentieth century expressionism. In this image, the brushwork is thickly applied in broad strokes and the details are eliminated, yet the aura of attendant resignation permeates the artwork. Through his artworks, Sekoto demonstrated his astuteness and sensitivity to the deplorable conditions under which his people were living, they also revealed Sekoto's ambivalent attitude towards white life in Johannesburg.

    The two figures occupying the foreground with the details of their faces not completely visible, with only their profiles discernible, brings the viewer face to face with the travails of urban black life under apartheid, yet still the viewer's gaze is from a distance. As the South African artist Lippy Lipschitz said of Sekoto, "No European can possibly possess and master the same intricate and peculiar knowledge of the African life and type...He seemed to have been the first and probably still is the only...painter who can paint sincerely and vividly the life and struggles of his people without glamour and varnish." The balance of light and shade and the deep sombre colours permeating the artwork, as well as the visual and psychological prominence of the two figures occupying the foreground, captures our attention and interest aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually.

    This pre-1947 artwork was created most likely during his time at Sophiatown when Sekoto began to experiment with oil paints. Sekoto received his first tube of oils as a gift from the South African painter, Alexis Preller.
    As Lesley Spiro, an authority writer on Sekoto articulates, ''It was a time when he pushed his understanding of colour and form to new heights, when he seemed to sharpen even further his already remarkable sense of mood and movement.''

    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    N. Chabani Manganyi, Gerard Sekoto: I am an African, (Johannesburg, 2001), pp.37, 38
    N.Chabani. Manganyi, A Black Man Called Sekoto, (Johannesburg, 1996), pp.36, 45
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Contacts
  1. Hannah O'Leary
    Specialist - South African Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 207 468 8213
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