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'The Quarrel' (1988) is one of four oil paintings by George Pemba that'll be going under the hammer at Aspire Art's Cape Town auction on March 16 2022. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
'The Quarrel' (1988) is one of four oil paintings by George Pemba that'll be going under the hammer at Aspire Art's Cape Town auction on March 16 2022. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART

Aspire Art's upcoming auction in Cape Town is sure to get art lovers' pulses racing as it gives them the opportunity to add some significant and sought-after pieces to their collections.

A total of 111 works by 74 renowned African artists — including many SA luminaries — will go under the hammer.

Headlining the auction is Drawing from Mine by William Kentridge. Intensely expressive, this charcoal drawing is one of 18 the artist produced as a still for his 1991 animated film, Mine

William Kentridge's 'Drawing from the Mine', 1991. Estimate: R2.8m - R3.5m. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
William Kentridge's 'Drawing from the Mine', 1991. Estimate: R2.8m - R3.5m. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART

Covetable drawings from Kentridge’s films rarely come to market, but that’s not the only reason this lot is expected to generate much excitement: Aspire Art achieved record-setting and -breaking prices when auctioning Kentridge pieces in the past.

Works from Marlene Duma seldom come to market, so lot 51 is another one to watch. Titled Kindvrou, this portrait of a young girl painted in the mid-1970s has drawn comparisons to Irma Stern’s celebrated piece, The Eternal Child.

Robert Hodgins’ exceptional large-scale oil painting, A Green Girl (1988/1989), which references Shakespeare's Ophelia, is another showstopper.

Robert Hodgins' 'A Green Girl', 1998/1999.Estimate: R900,000 - R1.2m. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Robert Hodgins' 'A Green Girl', 1998/1999.Estimate: R900,000 - R1.2m. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Marlene Dumas' 'Kindvrou', 1974/1975. Estimate: R1.8m - R2.4m. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Marlene Dumas' 'Kindvrou', 1974/1975. Estimate: R1.8m - R2.4m. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART

Aspire Art takes pride in presenting serious collectors with important pieces and so a number of other historical gems are on offer too. 

These include Louis Maqhubela’s The Fallen Kings, a politically poignant work from the 1960s representing the Rivonia Trial group, and Fanlo Mkhize’s BUTISI TART?, a whimsical work commissioned for the first Johannesburg Biennale, Africus, in 1995.

Then there are the four oil paintings by George Pemba. There’s recently been such an increased demand for this late artist’s work that Aspire Art’s MD Ruarc Peffers speculates his status will become comparable to that of pioneering local artist Gerard Sekoto.

Louis Maqhubela's 'Fallen Kings', 1960s. Estimate: R80,000 - R120,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Louis Maqhubela's 'Fallen Kings', 1960s. Estimate: R80,000 - R120,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART

Other modern treasures include a fantastic gouache, Embrace by Peter Clarke, two sensitive portraits by Neville Lewis, and works by François Krige, Cinga Samson, Eleanor Esmonde-White, Gregoire Boonzaier, Cecil Skotnes and Walter Battiss.

There's also an impressive body of sculptures by artists such as Bruce Arnott, David Brown, Sydney Kumalo and Edoardo Villa.

For fans of photography, the catalogue includes arresting works by the likes of David Goldblatt, Jac de Villier, Zanele Muholi and Guy Tillim.

Paul Kodjo's 'Perdue et Retrouvee', 1973. Estimate: R100,000 - R120,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Paul Kodjo's 'Perdue et Retrouvee', 1973. Estimate: R100,000 - R120,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Ayana Jackson’s 'Destruction', 2011. Estimate: R120,000 - R180,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Ayana Jackson’s 'Destruction', 2011. Estimate: R120,000 - R180,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART

Of particular interest are pieces by a pair of photographers whose work Aspire Art is debuting at auction in SA.

This includes Destruction, a bold and political piece from American contemporary photographer Ayana Jackson’s Poverty Porn series, and two black-and-white images from the 1970s (printed in 2019) by documentary photographer Paul Kodjo, known as the “father of Ivorian photography”.

These debuts reflect Aspire Art's commitment to growing the market for art from the continent and the African diaspora. Over the past 18 months, it has brought 50 new African artists to auction and set 60 new African records.

Staying true to this goal, over 20% of the works on the March auction are from African countries outside SA.

Highlights include Zimbabwean artists Misheck Masamvu’s monumental painting Bottoms Up and Moffat Takadiwa’s Mr Consumer 2, marvellous sculptural form constructed using refuse materials and litter from around Harare.

Moffat Takadiwa's 'Mr Consumer 2', 2014. Estimate: R150,000 - R200,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Moffat Takadiwa's 'Mr Consumer 2', 2014. Estimate: R150,000 - R200,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Misheck Masamvu's 'Bottoms Up', 2015. Estimate: R250,000 - R350,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART
Misheck Masamvu's 'Bottoms Up', 2015. Estimate: R250,000 - R350,000. Picture: SUPPLIED/ASPIRE ART

Also look out for paintings by Tanzanian George Lilanga as well as Zemba Luzamba and Joseph (Cheri Cherin) Kinkonda from the DRC.

Prospective bidders are invited to preview lots at Aspire Art’s gallery and auction room at 37A Somerset Road in De Waterkant, Cape Town, from Friday, March 11. The works will be on show from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. A fully illustrated auction catalogue can also be downloaded online.

The live auction is taking place at 7pm on Wednesday, March 16, at the gallery. Buyers are welcome to attend in person, or bid via telephone or using Aspire Art’s real-time online bidding platforms.

For more information, visit aspireart.net

This article was paid for by Aspire Art.

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