Live Virtual Auction, 11 - 12 October 2021

Sold for

ZAR 512 100
Lot 188
  • Robert Hodgins; Two Figures
  • Robert Hodgins; Two Figures
  • Robert Hodgins; Two Figures
  • Robert Hodgins; Two Figures

Lot Estimate
ZAR 500 000 - 700 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
ZAR 512 100

About this Item

South African 1920-2010
Two Figures
signed, dated 2000, inscribed with the artist's name, the title and the medium on the reverse 
oil on canvas
90 by 120cm excluding frame; 94,5 by 124,5 by 3,5cm including frame


After returning with vigour to painting in the 1980s, Robert Hodgins developed an idiosyncratic late style in which pink came to play a dominant role. The artist initially used pink as a colour signifier for his Caucasian subjects, notably in his celebrated Ubu series of the early 1980s, as well as The Triple Gates of Hell (1985-86), a major transitional work in the collection of the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The 1990s ushered in a loosening, both of compositional style and theme, with colour frequently emerging as the artist’s principal interest. His compositions progressively merged figure and ground, a compositional confusion that would become a hallmark of his late work. The current lot shares some similarities to his 2000 composition Stones in a Pink Field (sold by Strauss & Co in 2018 for R852 600), which portrays four naked pink figures in a variegated pink landscape. Hodgins frequently arranged groups of cumulous figures in barely described settings, using the same palette throughout. Reviewing his 2001-02 travelling retrospective, which included examples of his recent Picassoesque “pink phase” compositions, critic Hazel Friedman praised the “hallucinatory intensity” of these works.1 In a 2011 study of Francis Bacon’s influence on Hodgins, artist Nathan Jansen van Vuuren also remarked on the artist’s “rich use of strong, even psychedelic, colour,” adding how the “viscosities of paint and nuances of colour” in Hodgins’s work often evoked “a state of near dissolving as a result of the fluidity of the paint”.2 For Hodgins, this dissolving was both a point of intellectual inquiry and a delight linked to the act of painting without determined outcome.

  1. Hazel Friedman (2002) “Robert Hodgins: ‘Fifty Years a Painter’ at the Sasol Art Gallery”, ArtThrob, February:
  2. Nathan Jansen van Vuuren (2011) Violence and Trauma and the Influence of Francis Bacon in the Paintings of Robert Hodgins, Master of Arts in Fine Art, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, pages 15 & 58.


Goodman Gallery, Cape Town.

Private Collection.

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