Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction

Sold for

ZAR 159 320
Lot 99
  • Johann Louw; Two Men Against Wall

Lot Estimate
ZAR 100 000 - 120 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 159 320

About this Item

South African 1965-
Two Men Against Wall
signed, dated 95 and inscribed 'Woodstock' on the reverse
oil on canvas
60,5 by 170cm excluding frame


Following the completion of his Masters degree, Louw departed from Neo-expressionism as a visual vocabulary toward more simplified, monumental compositions rendered in a monochromatic palette.

Painted in 1997 during the turbulent early period of South Africa’s new democracy, this diptych is part of a powerful body of work featuring men in dramatically compressed and psychologically charged interiors, tempting some to read into its socio-political undertones.

‘The use of a palette, almost entirely reduced to shades of gray, dominates Louw’s painting in the middle to latter part of the 1990s … The reduced palette and amorphous interior spaces inhabited exclusively by men create an atmosphere of conspiratorial foreboding.’1

  1. Stefan Hundt. (2007) Johann Louw, Cape Town: Koerikai Document Solutions. Page 6.


Purchased by the current owner from the Association for Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery, Cape Town. November 1996.


Sanlam Art Gallery, Bellville, Johann Louw: A Mid-Career Retrospective, 19 September to 2 November 2007. Travelled to: Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria; Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein and SASOL Art Museum, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, 2008 - 2009.


Stefan Hundt (ed.) (2007). Johann Louw, Cape Town: Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd. Illustrated in colour on pages 26 and 27.

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