R5.7m heads-up for work by SA artist Kentridge

Published Apr 23, 2017


*Story has been updated

This work from the Heads series (1997) by South African artist William Kentridge sold for a record R5.7 million at an auction in Paris this week.

The 170cmx120cm work on paper had been expected to sell for between R1.1m and R1.6m.

It was the fourth sale by the Piasa auction house of African Contemporary Art and included a selection of works that enchanted international collectors and yielded a premium-inclusive of R10.3m.

Piasa spokesperson Christophe Person said the auction house had focused on Africa’s artistic scene for the last three years by staging specialist themed sales.

“The 100 or so works on offer this time, dating from the early 20th century to the present, prompted fierce bidding in the sale room, over the phone and by internet.

“Artists from the diaspora and a number of African countries were represented.

“This was a record price for a political, yet poetic drawing by Kentridge.

“The drawing was sold after a lengthy bidding war in the sale room and was the sale’s top price.

“It comes from his Heads series and was shown at the exhibition Visibles/Invisibles, * ’Afrique urbaine et ses marges held at the Blachère Foundation in Apt in 2015.

“This monumental gouache is characteristic of Kentridge’s work and his research into the fragmentation of time and action as he traces, partly effaces then reworks his support: a repetitive process whereby the present replaces the past which, however, never totally disappears.

“In this work Kentridge stresses the production process as much as the end product.”

* The story has been updated to indicate Christophe Person as the Piasa spokesperson. 

Sunday Tribune

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