Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Three school girls
Lot 25*
Gerard Sekoto
(South African, 1913-1993)
Three school girls
Sold for £ 308,750 (US$ 410,168) inc. premium

Lot Details
Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993)
Three school girls
signed 'G SEKOTO' (lower left); bears a Gainsborough Gallery label (verso)
oil on board
40.5 x 50.5cm (15 15/16 x 19 7/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    A private collection, South Africa.


    In 1939, Sekoto went to stay with his cousins in Sophiatown, a township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The area was densely populated and had a large black South African community. By the time Sekoto moved there, it had become something of a cultural hub. Here the artist was exposed to people from all walks of life:

    "The vitality of the area was a great stimulus. It was a theatrical scene seeing all these various types of people: women with baskets of shopping, some carrying baggage either on their heads or shoulders. Men of various styles of walking and clothing, some bicycle-riding or driving cars...there were also many children of varied appearance in attire and expression." (Gerard Sekoto, letter to Barbara Lindop, 4 November 1987)

    Sekoto first sought to capture his impressions of life in Sophiatown with poster paint on brown wrapping paper. He would make rapid sketches from life which he would later elaborate on back at his cousins' house.

    Three school girls is similar in subject matter to these early sketches and demonstrates his acute observation. However, it also reveals an important evolution of style. In 1940, Sekoto was introduced to the artist, Judith Gluckman. She showed him how to mix oil paints and prepare a canvas. He honed his technique over the next few years, becoming increasingly confident in the medium. His first solo exhibition opened at the Gainsborough Galleries in 1942.

    During this period, Sekoto's family relocated to Eastwood, a township just outside Pretoria. This was an improvement for the artist in terms of working conditions - here he had two rooms which he converted to a studio. The move prompted a surge of productivity. Sekoto later commented:

    "At the new home I found myself much more relaxed to concentrate upon my work...here people were not too inquisitive about why you looked at them. Some would even be willing to pose." (Gerard Sekoto, letter to Barbara Lindop, 4 November 1987)

    By 1947, he had compiled enough work for two exhibitions. One was staged in Pretoria, the other at the Gainsborough Galleries in Johannesburg. The shows were a great success and the artist sold nearly all the paintings exhibited, including this trio of school girls.

    Bibliography
    B. Lindop, Gerard Sekoto, (Johannesburg, 1988), pp.21-26.
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  1. Eliza Sawyer
    Specialist - South African Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 5881
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