Day Sale

Timed Online Auction, 9 - 28 May 2024

Day Sale

Sold for

ZAR 41 038
Lot 24
  • Ephraim Ngatane; Canteen (Charles Hurwitz Sanatorium)
  • Ephraim Ngatane; Canteen (Charles Hurwitz Sanatorium)
  • Ephraim Ngatane; Canteen (Charles Hurwitz Sanatorium)

Lot Estimate
ZAR 30 000 - 40 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 41 038

About this Item

South African 1938-1971
Canteen (Charles Hurwitz Sanatorium)

signed and dated 64

watercolour and gouache on paper laid down on board
55 by 76cm excluding frame; 92 by 113 by 3,5cm including frame


Ephraim Ngatane came to Johannesburg in about 1943 and studied painting under Cecil Skotnes at the Polly Street Art Centre from 1952 until 1954 (Johannesburg Art Gallery). He developed an individual approach in his painting and became known for his documentary portrayal of township life using watercolour. He was ‘famed among his colleagues for his technical sorcery. He could just as easily transform a watercolour into a shimmering jewel as he could make an oil painting resemble a stained glass window.’1 Ngatane became a prolific artist and by 1964 he had already had two solo exhibitions. That same year, he was hospitalised with tuberculosis at the Charles Hurwitz South African National Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Soweto. It was here that he encountered and inspired the young Dumile Feni.2 During his time at the sanitorium he painted works such as the present lot, depicting the sombre reality of those inflicted with this infectious disease. Ngatane was admitted with tuberculosis again in 1971 to Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. He died the next day at 33 years of age.

1 Rory Bester, Natalie Knight and David Koloane (2009) A Setting Apart, Johannesburg: Blank Books, page 8.

2, accessed 19 April 2024.

View all Ephraim Ngatane lots for sale in this auction

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