Aspire Innovates Again in Summer 19 Sale

30 Oct 2019

Johannesburg, 29th October 2019: Aspire Art Auctions launches an exciting week of programming to showcase its final sale for the year in Johannesburg, at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Illovo. The innovative young auction house brings to market yet another outstanding offering of modern art by black South African artists, a range of cutting edge contemporary art, and, for the first time, a special section of art from the rest of Africa, as the company begins to develop its market in other geographies.

The top lot by value on the sale is also the lead lot in an exceptionally strong showing of work by black South African modern artists. Dumile Feni’s powerful sculpture Silence (1986) comes with exceptional provenance and is a proven New York casting, the only cast of a planned edition of three.  Estimated at R2,000,000–3,000,000, it could well set a world record for the artist, to go along with Aspire’s existing world record for a Feni drawing, set in 2017 when Children under Apartheid sold for R1,250,480.

The Feni bronze is joined by an exceptional oil painting by Peter Clarke, one of the finest of its kind to come onto the market in recent times. With estimates set at an attractive R800,000–1,200,000, Abandoned on the dunes (1969) is the sale catalogue cover lot, and is a remarkable proto-Cubist work by Clarke, meditating on the prospect of forced removals which his community was undergoing at the time. The work is a companion piece to Listening to distant thunder, the painting which adorns the cover of the major monograph on the artist’s work by the same title.

Other significant works on offer in this segment include Lost Human Life by Helen Sebidi, a celebratory sculpture by Noria Mabasa dedicated to the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa, and an elegiac painting of a donkey cart in procession by George Pemba. Two highly unusual and collectable pieces round out the strong showing in the segment. The Two Worlds (1969), by one of the doyens of black modernist art, Gerard Sekoto, depicts the conflicting life experiences of the artist in exile – half rural African scene, half white urban cityscape. Finally, a rare work by Julian Motau comes to auction. Apartheid slave wagon (1966) is a large, dynamic and roughly sketched drawing of its metaphorical subject, from an influential artist, marked for greatness, who died far too young.

Aspire has become known for its expertise in selling contemporary art, and this time the offering is led by William Kentridge, the doyen of contemporary South African art. A wide range of work by the master is on offer, including a print from the highly sought-after Universal Archive series, a large monotype from the Colonial Landscapes series, and the lead Kentridge lot, an early drawing from 1987, also an untitled landscape work in his characteristic charcoal on paper, estimated at R800,000–1,200,000. Other strong and reputable contemporary artists on the sale include Deborah Bell, Diane Victor and Karel Nel. These household names line up alongside what has become a signature offering from Aspire, contemporary fine art photography, which in this case features international artist Dan Finsel, as well as Mikhael Subotzky, Alf Kumalo, and an exceptional unique print by David Goldblatt, entitled District Six.

Aspire has also made an innovative strategic decision in this sale to broaden and diversify its market. To this end the company will offer a range of art from Nigeria, Ghana and Zimbabwe, and will host a panel discussion in the lead up to the auction which will address the opening up of art markets in the rest of Africa, and interrogating ways for African collectors to start buying more in other African markets – including South Africa.


Upcoming Summer 19 Auction| 3 November 2019

Gordon Institute of Business Science, 26 Melville Road, Illovo, Sandton



Cocktail Party & Preview

Join us at the opening of our Summer 19 Auction Exhibition

Thursday 31 October, 6–8pm

Gordon Institute of Business Science, 26 Melville Road, Illovo

Kindly RSVP:, +27 11 243 5243, +27 62 956 3881


Panel Discussion: Collecting Contemporary African Art for Contemporary Africans

Panellists: Thandeka Gqubule–Mbeki (SABC Economic Editor); Odubayo Michael Solarin (UBS Investment Bank); Thembinkosi Goniwe (Curator & Academic); Sam Nhlengethwa (Artist)

Friday 1 November, 6–8pm

Gordon Institute of Business Science, 26 Melville Road, Illovo

Kindly RSVP:, +27 11 243 5243, +27 62 956 3881


Family Workshop

Join us with your children for a one hour, fun-filled workshop for the whole family where you will create art

Sunday 3 November, 10–11am

Kindly RSVP:, +27 11 243 5243, +27 62 956 3881


Specialists’ Walkabout

Join us for a walkabout of the Summer 19 auction collection with Aspire Specialists

Sunday 3 November, 11am–12pm

Kindly RSVP:, +27 11 243 5243, +27 62 956 3881


Summer 19 Auction

Sunday 3 November, 6pm

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