Live Auction, 12 November 2018
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
About this Item
George Pemba’s art evolved from a tighter, more detailed style early in his career, to a spare and apparently speedier manner later in life. The present lot, painted in 1991, the last decade of the artist’s life, is an example of this later style. Pemba painted scenes from everyday life and liked to go out on sketching trips, often with his friend, artist Louise Almon, to capture township life. Professor Estelle Marais of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Bophuthatswana (now part of North-West University), wrote that one of Pemba’s major contributions was making ‘the township experience, a theme’ to the artists that followed, although there is a marked difference between Pemba’s work and the ‘violent onslaught’ of the township artists of
The year Township Woman was painted was also the year of Pemba’s landmark exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg, which established his reputation as one of the country’s leading pioneer black painters. Most of the paintings on that exhibition had originally been sold by Pemba to another Johannesburg dealer for a very modest sum. Recognising that Pemba had been exploited, the Everard Read Gallery paid Pemba a 10% commission on each of the more than 170 paintings that sold, which provided Pemba with enough money to build a studio at his home in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, and enabled him to live relatively comfortably until his death in 2001. Township Woman is almost certainly one of those works and is vintage Pemba, portraying the colourful township life that he loved.
ExhibitedEverard Read Gallery