Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 17 February 2018

Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 170 520
Lot 66
  • Claire Gavronsky; Circa 14th C - 21st C

Lot Estimate
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 170 520

About this Item

South African 1957-
Circa 14th C - 21st C

signed and dated 2009 on the reverse

oil on linen
300 by 300cm excluding frame


“While the basis of her approach is in stylistic pastiche, she successfully avoids caricature and engages in an assured and skilled engagement with art history and individual painters and works.”1

Claire Gavronsky works in a variety of mediums, most notably in painting and sculpture. Her work often uses visual references to historical paintings, and cues are sometimes taken from events from everyday life. Memory, racism, violence against women and children are some of the themes which run through her oeuvre. Her work also bridges sometimes complex narratives through overlaid images, and stories which link the past to the present.

1. James Sey, Rosenclaire, Art South Africa, vol 10, Winter 2012, page 66.



 Clare Gavronsky writes:

(Homage to Dante)

"Living in Florence, it is almost impossible not to stumble across Dante – in words inscribed in stone on street corners, outside his house, on postcards, stationery, restaurant windows, and of course on countless pages. Here, he isn’t silent, nor is he a distant historical figure, on the contrary –he is Florence, his thoughts and words still speaking, insistent on their continued validity and contemporaneity. It is true that texts whose ink has long dried along with the bones of their authors, re-hydrate and freshen as they are re-read and seen within a present context. Watching BBC or CNN is a far cry from Dante’s poetry, but, much of the content is not. In the foul reprehensibility of the inferno are echoed our present actions, as though the founding map is so deeply etched that we can’t find a clean page, or level ground.


The sepia backdrop of this work, like the sinopia of a fresco that underlies its final face, outlines “the” inevitable events of our blunders and our ignorance. The bullish pushing of power that leaves no room for compassion. Its busy jostling and cramming that leaves no space for, or place of, silence. The proximity of one thing to another squashes into and tumbles out of the frame.


However, the glimmer of an alternative is proposed by the two women. Referencing an annunciation the lily is replaced by a piece of chalk and the holy book by a clean slate. This allows for a re-conception and thus a re-writing…..words or images that can never be fixed, but that rather invite the myriad possibilities of placing and displacing; fugitive records on an impermanent site."


Galleria Continua, Le Moulin, France, Sphères, 24 October 2009 to 30 May 2010.

Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, rosenclaire: Immaterial Matters, 2012.

View all Claire Gavronsky lots for sale in this auction

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