Impressive results of Bonhams' dedicated William Kentridge sale

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Impressive results of Bonhams' dedicated William Kentridge sale
Wiliam Kentridge, Soho in Bed with Rhinoceros. Sold for £630,330. Photo: Bonhams

LONDON.- Bonhams held a sale dedicated to works by the radical South African artist William Kentridge (born 1955) today (Tuesday 15 November) at Bonhams New Bond Street, London. The 20-lot sale, entitled A Focus on William Kentridge, made a total of £1,233,030, with 80% sold by lot and 100% sold by value. The top lot was Soho in Bed with Rhinoceros, which achieved an impressive £630,330.

The drawing, which dates from 1991, came from Mine; the second of Kentridge's animated films. It was used as part of the final sequence when the Rhinoceros tenderly nuzzles at the out-stretched hand of the besuited industrialist Soho Eckstein. Kentridge himself has said of his filmed drawings: “A film of the drawing holds each moment. And of course, often, as a drawing proceeds, interest shifts from what was originally central, to something that initially appeared incidental. Filming enables me to follow this process of vision and revision as it happens.”

Helene Love-Allotey, Head of Sale for Modern and Contemporary African Art, said: “We are delighted with the results of our sale dedicated to the extraordinary William Kentridge. His interdisciplinary work both provokes and inspires, challenging colonial narratives and deeply embedded in his experience of life in South Africa. Given his current – highly praised – solo show at the RA, it is no wonder that this sale captured the imagination of collectors.”

William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955 to a family of Lithuanian descent. His parents' dedicated involvement in the fight against apartheid in South Africa would have a deep and lasting impact on the artist, setting him apart from many of his white peers from a young age, and heavily informing his work. Kentridge completed a degree in Politics and African History in Johannesburg, before turning to art and theatre. This unconventional path would go on to influence his practice both aesthetically and intellectually, with his work crossing and combining mediums – though with South African culture and identity remaining at the heart of his practice.

Kentridge's bold artistic vision has seen him become one of the world's most sought-after artists by museums and collectors alike. His work can be found in the collections of some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including the MoMA, New York, Tate Modern, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago among many others.

Other highlights of the sale included:

Colonial Landscape - Waterfall, 1995-1996. Sold for £504,300.
Walking Man, 2000 unframed. Sold for £16,575.
Summer Graffiti, 2002 (8). Sold for £15,300.
Casspirs Full of Love, 1989. Sold for £12,750.
Three animated films. Sold for £7,650.

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