Day Sale: Modern and Contemporary Art

Timed Online Auction, 28 August - 18 September 2023

Modern and Contemporary Art with a focus on Cape Moments

Sold for

ZAR 234 500
Lot 36
  • William Kentridge; Table with Sparrow
  • William Kentridge; Table with Sparrow

Lot Estimate
ZAR 200 000 - 300 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 234 500

About this Item

South African 1955-
Table with Sparrow

signed and numbered 16/25 in red conté in the margin; signed, dated 2019, and inscribed 'Right' in the print

digital print on Hahnemühle etching paper
image size: 102 by 146cm; sheet size: 111,5 by 153cm, unframed


An interest in optics and the construct of seeing informs Kentridge’s experiments with stereoscopic vision, of which Table with Sparrow forms a part. In order to achieve the illusion of stereoscopic vision, a drawing or construction is photographed twice, with the focal points about 7,5 centimetres apart – roughly the distance between the pupils of a person’s eyes. The use of the stereopticon —an optical viewer that creates the illusion of three-dimensionality when viewing two nearly identical images side by side – transforms these two images into a three-dimensional experience in the viewer’s perception, as they are translated into the complex neural patterns of the brain.

Table with Sparrow translates the set of small photographic images inserted into a stereopticon into two largescale drawings forming a diptych, and it was subsequently made into an editioned work by the artist.

A sense of contention and play is brought into the artist’s practice through the questioning of perception that Table with Sparrow proposes. It also harks back to early experiments in binocular perception that found their way into the repertoire of popular entertainment in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The drawing Table with Sparrow (2019) was included in Norval Foundation’s Why Should I Hesitate?, Sculpture, the first retrospective exhibition of William Kentridge’s sculptural practice.


Norval Foundation, Cape Town.

Private Collection.


Norval Foundation, Cape Town, William Kentridge: Why Should I Hesitate, Sculpture, 24 August 2019 to 27 July 2020.


Karel Nel and Owen Martin (2019) William Kentridge: Why Should I Hesitate, Sculpture, Cape Town: Norval Foundation, illustrated on pages 196 and 197.

View all William Kentridge lots for sale in this auction

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