Modern and Contemporary Art

Live Virtual Auction, 16 May 2023

Modern and Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 693 150
Lot 50
  • Anton van Wouw; Shangaan
  • Anton van Wouw; Shangaan
  • Anton van Wouw; Shangaan
  • Anton van Wouw; Shangaan

Lot Estimate
ZAR 600 000 - 800 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 693 150

About this Item

South African 1862-1945

inscribed with the artist’s name, ‘1907’, ‘Johannesburg’ and the foundry mark

bronze with a brown patina on a wooden base; cast by the Nisini foundry, Rome
height: 30,6 cm excluding base; height: 36,5 cm including base; width: 21 cm; depth: 15,5 cm


Shangaan was conceived and first modelled in the artist’s Doornfontein studio in Johannesburg in 1907. Having recently moved there from Pretoria, and having won the backing of investors to work on what he pleased, Van Wouw enjoyed one of his most creative streaks during that year. Alongside Shangaan, the other famous small-scale works to leave his studio in 1907 included Slegte Nuus, Dagga Roker, Die Noitje van die Onderveld, Mieliepap Eater and The Accused (or The Basuto Witness). Thanks to Van Wouw’s powers of observation, the young Shangaan man bristles with defiance. His head tilts forward with a furrowed brow, eyes narrow, lips pursed, arms crossed, and fingers tucked under armpits, exaggerating his biceps. The sculpture is certainly arresting and magnificently rendered, but it also sheds some light on the difficult lives of the then newly urbanised labourers working on the Witwatersrand mines. Remarkably, over 60% of the underground miners were Shangaan migrants, most of them coming from the southern provinces of Mozambique. Another casting of Shangaan, also from the furnaces of Giovanni Nisini in Rome, found its way into the collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous writer and Boer War medic.


ML du Toit. (1933) Suid-Afrikaanse Kunstenaars, Deel 1, Anton van Wouw. Cape Town: Nasionale Pers Bpk, another cast illustrated as plate 15, unpaginated.

Dr Morris J Cohen. (1938) Anton van Wouw: Sculptor of South African Life, Johannesburg, another cast illustrated on page 19.

AE Duffey. (1981) Anton van Wouw 1862-1945 en die Van Wouwhuis, University of Pretoria, number A21, another cast illustrated on page 29.

AE Duffey. (2008) Anton van Wouw: The Smaller Works. Pretoria: Protea Books, another cast illustrated on page 63.

View all Anton van Wouw lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Edoardo Villa; Mother and Child
Edoardo Villa
Mother and Child
ZAR 80 000 - 120 000
Edoardo Villa; Reclining Figure
Edoardo Villa
Reclining Figure
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Edoardo Villa; Two Figures
Edoardo Villa
Two Figures
ZAR 300 000 - 400 000
Edoardo Villa; Violinist
Edoardo Villa
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Anton Smit; Run From Yourself
Anton Smit
Run From Yourself
ZAR 100 000 - 150 000
Walter Oltmann; Aurum Disguise
Walter Oltmann
Aurum Disguise
ZAR 200 000 - 300 000