Modern, Post War and Contemporary Art


7:00pm Mon 11 Nov 2019


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Lot 4

South African 1920-2010
Nude Watching TV
signed, dated 2006/7 and inscribed with the title on the reverse
oil on canvas
45 by 118cm

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 Johannesburg Office

After retiring from Wits University in 1983, Robert Hodgins devoted himself to painting. Although settled on the human figure as his central subject, he was always looking to innovate and experimented with various formal and technical devices. A Hodgins figure typically occupies a discrete pictorial frame, and is portrayed either frontally or in profile against an undifferentiated ground of uniform colour. Hodgins, however, frequently experimented with possibilities of the frame, sometimes creating works that spanned multiple frames, and, just as often, partitioning space within a single canvas. Many of Hodgins’s compositions in the latter mode depict figures either appraising art (The Lineaments of Gratified Desire, 1985, Hodgins Person between Two Hodgins Paintings, 2001) or, as in this lot, watching television. Similar to A Cadet Watching TV (2006), this lot juxtaposes two discrete figural arrangements on a single, horizontal canvas. At left, Hodgins depicts a trio of primordial figures, their chocolate bodies detailed with daubs of pink and smudges of yellow. Opposite them, at right, he presents a naked figure seated on a modernist armchair and bathed in brilliant yellow. It is unclear who is naked and who is watching. Hodgins’s abiding fascination with looking as a subject of art, partly inspired by his love of French painter Honoré Daumier’s work, is distilled here into a mordant take on spectatorship, marked by dark tones, and also undertones. A hand breaches the compositional boundary between murk and light, and is seemingly burnt as a consequence.

Estimate: R 600 000 - 800 000 

This lot did not sell

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