Important South African & International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery

Live Auction, 16 March 2015

Important South African and International Art Evening Sale

Sold for

ZAR 3 410 400
Lot 602
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere; Schmerzensmann III
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere; Schmerzensmann III
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere; Schmerzensmann III
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere; Schmerzensmann III
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere; Schmerzensmann III
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere; Schmerzensmann III

Lot Estimate
ZAR 2 500 000 - 3 500 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 3 410 400

About this Item

Belgian 1964-
Schmerzensmann III
epoxy, wax and iron
height: approximately 440cm


Accompanied by Hauser & Wirth exhibition publication of photographs.

Internationally celebrated artist, Berlinde De Bruyckere, is widely admired for her unique vision that addresses the larger questions of humanity.  Chosen as the solo artist to represent Belgium at the 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2013, she selected JM Coetzee as her curator or interlocutor with whom, through an extended correspondence, she developed her ideas for the exhibition, Cripplewood/Kreupelhout in the Belgian Pavilion. That so illustrious an author – recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature and twice winner of the Booker Prize – accepted her invitation confirms the high regard in which she is held.

‘Schmerzensmann’, German for ‘man of sorrows’, is the title chosen by De Bruyckere for a series of sculptures and drawings produced for her solo show in London in 2006. It is borrowed from a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) that depicts Christ after he has been flagellated.

For Schmerzensmann III she created a pale, attenuated figure from epoxy and wax which is then hung from the apex of a decommissioned nineteenth-century station column. Gaping wounds and missing limbs, the close attention to flesh and details of feet are all poignant reminders of recent atrocities as much as they evoke images of war and of the crucifixion. Contrasting the vulnerability of the figure against the uncompromising strength of the industrial iron column heightens associations of suffering, of cruelty perpetrated by human beings on one another. The figure, without a face or head, becomes less personal and more universal while paradoxically allowing viewers to identify more easily with the subject.

There is no doubt that prestigious exhibitions not only showcase works of art but enhance their desirability. Berlinde De Bruyckere’s Schmerzensmann III is of such global significance that it has been requested for the exhibition titled The Problem of God at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf, Germany, opening on 26 September 2015 and on view until 24 January 2016.


Acquired directly from Hauser & Wirth, London


Ghent Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K, Ghent), Berlinde De Bruyckere: Sculptures & Drawings. 2000-2014, 18 October 2014 to 15 February 2015 where another work from this series is included.

Hauser & Wirth, London, Berlinde De Bruyckere: Schmerzensmann, 10 November to 15 December 2006.


Gregor Muir and Ali Subotnick. (2006) Berlinde De Bruyckere: Schmerzensmann, London: Steidel Hauser & Wirth. Illustrated on several pages, unpaginated.

View all Berlinde De Bruyckere lots for sale in this auction

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