Aspire Art Auctions offers major artworks on Summer Cape Town sale

Fresh from the remarkable successes of its recent Johannesburg auction in November 2017, Aspire Art Auctions is lining up another top roster of high-quality fine art in its upcoming Summer sale.

Alexis Preller – Gold Angel

The last auction sale demonstrated Aspire’s expertise in each of the major segments of historic, modern and contemporary art, with records being achieved across the board.

The work on offer in the forthcoming sale shows the same depth and excellence, offering buyers another opportunity to add quality and rarity to their collections.


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A leading highlight on the sale is a rare and unusual work by revered South African modern artist Alexis Preller. Gold Angel (Arêté), from 1970, combines the artist’s interest in African masks and Egyptian and Greek murals, gleaned from his extensive travels in Europe and North Africa.

In addition to his interest in these themes, Preller developed a highly idiosyncratic personal cosmology, in which a variety of ‘Angel’ and regal ‘King’ figures are depicted, often just their heads, and often, like this one, in profile. This Egyptian-inspired Angel head is subtitled ‘Arêté’, a Greek word meaning ‘excellence’, or ‘living up to one’s potential’ – a key concept in Preller’s visual cosmology.

Maggie Laubser needs no introduction to most serious buyers and collectors, and one of South Africa’s most significant modern painters has a beautiful still life on the Cape Town show. Still life with vase and sunflowers (1940) is a representative painting from the artist’s mature period, when she had become something of an icon for a younger generation of contemporary SA artists, the so-called ‘New Group’.

Judged on the outstanding success of the sale of Sydney Kumalo’s Mythological Rider in the Aspire November 2017 sale, where it achieved a world record price of almost R2 million, buyers will be interested in another arresting sculpture by the venerated Amadlozi artist. Figure on a Bull is from an edition of nine, another one of which fetched a price of R800 000 previously on auction.


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Lastly, the upcoming show has a special focus on contemporary art, an area in which Aspire has consistently led the secondary auction market, and which forms a strategic focus area for the company.

One of the contemporary highlights at this auction is by one of the most exciting contemporary artists in the country at the moment. Mohau Modisakeng’s star continues to rise.

The work on auction is from 2012’s Frames series, Untitled (Frame XVI). This series was instrumental in establishing Modisakeng’s characteristic visual style – a cool, abstracted and stylised photographic performance in which the artist stages his own body in ‘frames’ of implicit violence, indicative of the global situation of the black body. In this particular instance from the series, the trope of the blinkers implies both violence and control over the subject.

The sale will take place at The Avenue, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on March 25.


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