The book, Sarah Sinisi (2019) The House that Jack Built: An Illustrated Biography of Jack Lugg, Cape Town: Jack Lugg Art Galler, accompanies the lot.
The artist studied at the Écoles des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under Matisse.
In the 1950s, Jack Lugg relocated to the Eastern Cape, where his interactions with the local Xhosa people prompted a number of artworks centred around both Xhosa stories and traditions, and broader South African cultures and histories. The painting titled Nongqawuse’s Dream draws from historical accounts in both colonial records and oral recollections of generations of Xhosa storytellers. Nongqawuse, a prophetess, was told of a number of ancestral asseverations that instructed the Xhosa people to destroy their cattle, crops, and essentially, their livelihood – with the promise that the impending colonial power would be thwarted. Many followed through. Over time, weakened and with the prophecy unfulfilled, the Xhosa people were subdued by British invaders. Lugg tugs on a thread of this story, weaving together his own ideas and untangling aspects of the story through the medium of painting. He portrays the ephemeral, the intangible, and spiritual, and said that ‘art is almost like a religion for me. I’m merely the vehicle through which this strong spirit drives’.1 In this painting, tentative stokes and deep colours conjure a scene that is there but not quite there. The quiet, watery depths suggest dipping in and out of consciousness, or a state of dreaming and awakening.
1. Sarah Sinisi (2019) The House that Jack Built: An Illustrated Biography of Jack Lugg, Cape Town: Jack Lugg Gallery.
This work forms part of the African Legends series the artist produced in 1962.
The artist's family.
Gallery 101, Johannesburg, Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture, Drawing and Graphic Art by Jack Lugg, 1962.
Ann Bryant Art Gallery, East London, Jack Lugg Retrospective, 2018.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum, Port Elizabeth, Jack Lugg Retrospective, 2018.
Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, Jack Lugg Retrospective, 2019.
The Art Critic (1962) The Star, Tuesday 26 June. Not illustrated.
Sarah Sinisi (2019) The House that Jack Built: An Illustrated Biography of Jack Lugg, Cape Town: Jack Lugg Art Gallery. Illustrated in colour on page 162.