Online-Only Auction, 15 - 22 February 2021

Sold for

Lot 399
  • Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Cecil Skotnes
  • Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Cecil Skotnes
  • Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Cecil Skotnes
  • Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Cecil Skotnes
  • Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Cecil Skotnes
  • Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Cecil Skotnes
  • Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Cecil Skotnes

Lot Estimate
R 18 000 - 24 000
Selling Price

About this Item

South African 1955-
Tribute to Cecil Skotnes
signed, dated '11, numbered 39/50, inscribed with the title in pencil and embossed with The Artists' Press chopmark in the margin
eight colour lithograph
57 by 76,5cm excluding frame; 71,5 by 91 by 3,5cm including frame


The lithographs in lots 344, 398 and 399 pay tribute to three giants of the art world, Henri Matisse, Cecil Skotnes, and Mmakgabo Mmapula Helen Sebidi. Instead of using conventional perspective, Nhlengethwa abstracts and flattens space, patterning and overlapping planes in a clean and sharp manner to transport the viewer into a still space of aesthetic harmony. Unconventionally, he depicts an artwork within each artwork. The flat swathes of colour on the walls and furniture in the scenes contrast with the depictions of identifiable works by Matisse, Skotnes and Sebidi that appear to hang on the walls. These are the busiest elements of the artworks, which makes them the focal points.

The artist’s Tribute series (2008–2014) has recently been extended in Interiors Continued, where the artist creates further painting-collages in tribute to great artists and musicians.

Nhlengethwa worked as a set designer for the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) for 13 years, and that experience is a contributing factor in this series. He says, ‘we were dealing with space – vacated space. The tributes ape that empty space, but with the hanging paintings of these specific individuals, they are injected with a sense of vibrancy.’1

These works remind us of the importance of culture in our spaces – without art, our lives and our spaces would be empty, and rather mundane!

Nhlengethwa has an extensive oeuvre, spanning over three decades and is known to be captivated by downtown Johannesburg: he has documented, in lithography, painting, collage, and a combination of all these media, the city’s many personas, its jazz scene, nightlife, struggle and strife, in a very distinct artistic language. He studied at Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre in the 70s, and later the Johannesburg Art Foundation. He was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1994 and his work have since become widely known, in South Africa and internationally.

1. Sam Nhlengethwa (2020) Interiors Continued, Press Release, Goodman Gallery, London,

Cheriese Dilrajh


Other lots that might interest you
Sam Nhlengethwa; Tribute to Helen Sebidi
Sam Nhlengethwa
Tribute to Helen Sebidi
R 18 000 - 24 000
Pippa Skotnes; We are Smoking's People
Pippa Skotnes
We are Smoking's People
R 3 000 - 5 000
Diane Victor; Deep Waters, diptych
Diane Victor
Deep Waters, diptych
R 60 000 - 80 000
Zolani Siphungela; Blue
Zolani Siphungela
R 6 000 - 8 000
Lionel Abrams; Man Rising from a Chair, five
Lionel Abrams
Man Rising from a Chair, five
R 2 000 - 3 000
Thijs Nel; Forest Trees
Thijs Nel
Forest Trees
R 2 000 - 3 000