Modern and Contemporary Art

Live Virtual Auction, 16 May 2023

Modern and Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 140 700
Lot 93
  • Andrew Verster; A Bigger Splash
  • Andrew Verster; A Bigger Splash
  • Andrew Verster; A Bigger Splash

Lot Estimate
ZAR 120 000 - 160 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 140 700

About this Item

South African 1937-2020
A Bigger Splash

signed and dated 80; inscribed ‘no.9’ on the stretcher

oil on canvas
147 by 147,5cm excluding frame; 151 by 151,5 by 4cm including frame


The iconography of many of Andrew Verster’s paintings centres on the beach: deck chairs, umbrellas, and surfers abound in his work. But also, other places intimating the enjoyment of water, such as swimming pools and lakes surrounding small islands. The present lot is no exception. In its scale and austerity, let alone its title, it obviously references the famous David Hockney A Bigger Splash, in the collection of Tate Modern. Hockey painted three ‘splashes’: A Little Splash (41 by 51 cm), The Splash (183 by 183 cm) and A Bigger Splash (244 by 244 cm), all in 1966, inspired by a photograph in a book about how to build a swimming pool. The artist had only recently moved to Los Angeles. Says Hockney: ‘Everybody knows a splash can’t be frozen in time, it doesn’t exist, so when you see it in a painting it is even more striking than a photograph, because you know a photograph took a second to take. The painting took much longer [two weeks] to make than the splash existed for, so it has a very different effect on the viewer.’ 1 The remarkable aspect of Verster’s Splash, however, is that the artist seems to have missed that ‘second’ of white spray of the splash to which Hockney refers. Verster’s is all calm blue water, the diver evidently already sunken deep into the still water. The subject certainly caught the public imagination. A Bigger Splash is also the title of the Jack Hazan 1972 film, as well as a 2012 Tate Modern exhibition focusing on painting after performance art.

1. Nikos Stangos (ed) 1976 David Hockney by David Hockney. London: Thames and Hudson, page 125.


Strauss & Co, Johannesburg, November 2013, lot 77.

View all Andrew Verster lots for sale in this auction

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