South African Artists Star at Bonhams Modern & Contemporary African Art Sale in London

London – Works by some of the biggest names in South African Art are amongst the highlights of Bonhams Modern & Contemporary African Art sale on 22 March in London. Highlights include six works by the legendary Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966) and two important works by Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993), who is widely recognised as a pioneer of urban black art and social realism. Leading the sale will be Young Pondo Man by Irma Stern, which has an estimate of £300,000 - 500,000.

Irma Stern travelled extensively across Africa throughout her lifetime, drawing her inspiration from the uniqueness of the continent. Stern's cultural background was European, and it was German Expressionism which provided the formal language of her style. Bonhams has sold many works by Irma Stern including Arab Priest (1945), which achieved £3 million in 2011, making this the world auction record for a painting by Stern and the most valuable South African painting ever sold at auction.

Helene Love-Allotey, Bonhams Head of Sale, commented: "This sale really showcases the diversity of South African art and features some of the country's biggest names alongside other exceptional works from across the continent. Though working during different eras, the artists featured in the sale all capture something unique. South African art is a field which is particularly strong, and we're sure that the selection on offer will entice a range of collectors."

The sale will also include three works by Zanele Muholi (South African, born 1972), one of the most acclaimed artists working today. Muholi was born in Umlazi in 1972, at the height of apartheid. They are known for their photographic work documenting the lives of LGBTQIA+ people living in South Africa, which featured in a landmark Tate retrospective in 2021. In 2021 and 2020, Bonhams London and New York auctions secured sales of impressive self-portraits by Muholi including Isililo XX, for £21,500, Sasa, Bleecker, New York, 2016, for £6,812, and Isililo X, 2013 for £6,937.

15 March 2023


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