Important South African and International Art

Live Auction, 13 November 2017

Session One

Sold for

ZAR 31 831
Lot 124
  • Helena Stegman; Portrait of Herman Charles Bosman

Lot Estimate
ZAR 20 000 - 30 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 31 831

About this Item

South African 1921-
Portrait of Herman Charles Bosman
oil on board
56 by 45,5cm excluding frame


Helena Stegman was the third wife of well-known South African short story writer Herman Charles Bosman, best known for the yarns spun by his most famous character, Oom Schalk Lourens from the Groot Marico district in the Northwest. Stegman, a lesser-known member of the famous Wits Group of artists (Christo Coetzee, Nel Erasmus, Larry Scully, Cecil Skotnes, Gordon Vorster), painted this sensitive portrait of her husband in 1948, capturing what Lionel Abrahams, another South African poet and writer, remembers of Bosman: ‘so gentle and warm, so genial and enchanted that there was always a sense of the miraculous in the thought of him being here, in Johannesburg, walking

the tram-lined street …’.1 Commenting in the preface to Blignaut’s authoritative biography, My Friend: Herman Charles Bosman (1980), Leon Hugo writes that ‘Bosman emerges from the shadows of his own making and lives as the endlessly amusing, irrepressible, vitally aware person that he was’ in this memoir. Stegman’s portrait of Bosman emerges equally strong from the dark background, showing his character to

its fullest.

1 See Jean Blignaut (1981) Death Hath Eloquence: Herman Charles Bosman, Roodepoort: CUM Books, page 9.


Illustrated in colour on the covers of Stephen Gray’s (1980) Selected Stories: Herman Charles Bosman Human & Rousseau, Cape Town, and Aegidius Jean Blignaut’s (1981) Death Hath Eloquence: Herman Charles Bosman CUM Books, Roodepoort.

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