Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction

Sold for

ZAR 170 700
Lot 52
  • Brett Murray; Praise Singer

Lot Estimate
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 170 700

About this Item

South African 1961-
Praise Singer
from an edition of 8
bronze with a black patina on a painted wooden base
height: 68cm excluding base; base: 2cm


Brett Murray’s 2007 solo exhibition Crocodile Tears saw the artist take aim at what he viewed as ‘the political cant and sycophancy’ of South Africa’s post-apartheid political elites.1 The exhibition included four plinth-mounted bronze sculptures depicting anthropomorphised dogs performing tricks. The present lot formed part of this assembly. Murray’s sculptures were generally well received, the critical consensus being that these performing (and in one instance copulating) dogs were a smart device for addressing his recurring interest in power, patronage and sycophancy. One critic likened this lot to a ‘chubby, overfed poodle one is likely to find in a retirement home.’2 The formal language of this lot recalls Murray’s earlier Fat Sculptures (1991), a series of painted resin sculptures depicting various animals including a prancing sheep. Murray began working in bronze in 2001. He initially painted his figures, but since 2005 he has opted to present his animal-human hybrids in unadorned bronze, albeit polished.

Sean O’Toole

  1. Brett Murray. (2013) Brett Murray, Johannesburg: Jacana Media. Page 183.
  2. Michael Smith. (2013) in Brett Murray, op.cit.. Page 40.


Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, Crocodile Tears, 10 April to 3 May 2008.
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, Crocodile Tears II, February 2009.


Brett Murray. (2008) Crocodile Tears, Cape Town: Goodman Gallery Editions. Another example from the edition illustrated in colour on pages 60 and 61.

Brett Murray. (2008) Brett Murray, Johannesburg: Jacana Media. Another example illustrated in colour on page 187 and a view of the installation illustrated on pages 190 and 191.

View all Brett Murray lots for sale in this auction

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