Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 17 February 2018

Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 329 672
Lot 69
  • William Kentridge; Atlas Procession I

Lot Estimate
ZAR 250 000 - 350 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 329 672

About this Item

South African 1955-
Atlas Procession I

signed and numbered 6/40 in pencil in the margin

etching, aquatint, drypoint, letterpress and handpainting
sheet size: 158 by 108cm; plate size: 148 by 98cm


The processional scene is an important motif in William Kentridge’s grand corpus. It claims diverse influences. The earliest processions appear in his first stop-animation film, Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City after Paris (1989), which references the political street marches ubiquitous at the time in Johannesburg. But Kentridge also cites the revolutionary films of Sergei Eisenstein as influence, also Kazimir Malevich’s painting Black Square (1915), which he interprets as an abstract rendering of the masses participating in the Russian Revolution.1

Kentridge is particularly adept at translating his crowds scenes and mass processions across various media. They have appeared in arcing, banner-like drawings, bronze sculpture and films with real-life protagonists. His “frieze” film, More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015), on view at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, offers a recent example. This lot showcases Kentridge’s abundant skill with printmaking. Kentridge used maps as the printed ground for his prints onto which the figures were projected. The initial proofs featured coloured aquatint, a difficult process that led to the maps being printed in monochrome, with hand colouring in watercolour afterwards.2 Part of duo, these prints were inspired by a 1999 project in Amsterdam where Kentridge projected fresco-like images onto the ceiling of the City Hall.

1. Mark Rosenthal, William Kentridge: Five Themes, San Francisco: SFMoMA, 2009, page 47.

2. Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (ed.), William Kentridge Prints, Johannesburg: David Krut, 2006, page 102.


Susan Stewart and David Krut. (2006) William Kentridge Prints, Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing. Another print from the edition illustrated on page 105.

View all William Kentridge lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
William Kentridge; Olympia (53)
William Kentridge
Olympia (53)
ZAR 120 000 - 150 000
Minnette Vári; Baubo on the Shore (The Unforgetting of Being)
Minnette Vári
Baubo on the Shore (The Unforgetting of Being)
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Moshekwa Langa; Untitled
Moshekwa Langa
ZAR 120 000 - 160 000
William Kentridge; Drawing for 'Felix in Exile'
William Kentridge
Drawing for 'Felix in Exile'
ZAR 2 000 000 - 2 500 000
Joachim Schönfeldt; The Model Men
Joachim Schönfeldt
The Model Men
ZAR 800 000 - 1 200 000
Diane Victor; Indemnities for Late Believers, diptych
Diane Victor
Indemnities for Late Believers, diptych
ZAR 200 000 - 300 000