Treasures and trailblazers: Aspire sets the stage for exciting sale of modern and contemporary art

This Spring, Aspire returns to Johannesburg with a much-anticipated auction of modern and contemporary art taking place on 3rd September. With this large-scale auction, which presents a collection of 168 works by 103 artists, the company is breaking new ground with a fresh, yet considered selection of artworks that is demographically more representative and reflects the spirit of current times.

With a strong focus on South Africa, the sale also proudly represents artists from 10 African countries (Benin, DRC, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and international artists from Europe, the UK, and the US.

More than half of the lots on offer are by artists of colour, with over a third by women artists. Rare and important historical works are presented alongside an impressive and diverse collection of contemporary art which accounts for a solid 70% of the sale. Photography and new media works make up over 30% of the collection, while 12 new rising stars are introduced.

Art collectors can look forward to the opportunity to acquire sought-after pieces by outstanding artists through an engaging virtual auction format that will be live-streamed from Aspire’s gallery in Johannesburg. Buyers are invited to make use of telephone and various real-time online bidding platforms.

The leading lot in the sale is an exceptional early painting by Gerard Sekoto titled In the Beer Hall. Painted before Sekoto permanently left South Africa in 1947 and was first exhibited at Gainsborough Gallery in Johannesburg circa 1939/40. The painting is a fine example of Sekoto’s newfound oil technique at the time and considered one of the earliest images of black people painted sympathetically by a black artist. Another important painting from Sekoto’s ‘golden-era’ period on auction is the radiant Portrait of a Young Woman. Early paintings by Sekoto of this quality are very rare and seldom come to market.