William Joseph Kentridge (South African, born 1955)
'Alfa Romeo' signed and dated 'W Kentridge '87' (lower right), bears title 'Alfa Romeo' (centre) charcoal, graphite and chalk on paper 65 x 99.5cm (25 9/16 x 39 3/16in).
PROVENANCE: A private collection, South Africa A private collection, Canada
EXHIBITED: New York, Gallery Schlesinger, TOXIC ASSETS, 2009
Kentridge's vigorous charcoal drawings of the 1980s, with their dense spatial compositions and expressive gestures, reflect the artist's early career interest in Wiemar-era art and culture particularly the work of Otto Dix, Georg Grosz and Max Beckmann. The resulting scene of chaos and casualty captures something of the urban charge of Johannesburg during the State of Emergency, and was informed by an incident with an ambulance which Kentridge witnessed outside his home.
The woman on crutches, who appears on the left of the scene, is familiar from Kentridge's earlier Industry and Idleness series, where the hatted figure has sweet nothings whispered in her ear in Promises of Fortune.