Yellow Houses District Six By Gerard Sekoto



2015-06-26 10:36:29


18788 - The South African Sale - London

March 23, 2011

Lot 204

Bonhams Lot Notes –

“'Yellow Houses, District Six'

signed 'G Sekoto' (lower left)

oil on canvas

50.5 x 58cm (19 7/8 x 22 13/16in).

Yellow Houses, District Six is directly linked to the painting Market Street Scene, Cape Town (sold in these rooms 24 March 2010, lot 33). Both paintings use shadow from an unknown source to lead into the composition, where complementary colour contrasts of yellow, red and blue create atmospheric tension between the figures that occupy the landscape. Light, shadow and colour define and encapsulate the given moment. Sekoto's inherent musicality is subliminal to both works of art. Yellow Houses, District Six is the synthesis of various influences and the triumph of Sekoto's early career from 1939 until this work was painted between 1942 and 1945.

The devised architectural structure of walls, windows and doors emphasise and divide the two women and man from one another, accentuating their introspective self-absorption and inertia. Colour contrasts of red roofs and yellow walls and the long afternoon shadows suggest heat and its accompanying lassitude. The darkened shadows of the figures and the road in the foreground lead into the light-blue tonalities of the pavement, stoep and window interiors. The two disinterested passers-by, the woman's skirt uplifted in suggested speed of purpose, contrasts with the apathy and indolence of the mid-ground figures. Golden light surrounds and bathes the disconsolate trio, and the moment is frozen in time.

The universality of the human condition of poverty and unemployment is masterfully conveyed in Yellow Houses, District Six, whilst the painting still retains a quintessential South African ambiance.”

Price realized: £602,400 – a World Record price for the artist

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