Day Sale

Timed Online Auction, 9 - 28 May 2024

Day Sale

Sold for

ZAR 4 456
Lot 38
  • Alexis Preller; Sketch for Urn Head
  • Alexis Preller; Sketch for Urn Head

Lot Estimate
ZAR 2 000 - 3 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 4 456

About this Item

South African 1911-1975
Sketch for Urn Head
ink and pencil on paper
26 by 19,5cm excluding mount; 38,5 by 32cm including mount, unframed


From an initially innocuous sketch made in the Congo of the bound head of a Mangbetu child, and its likeness to a Barotse pot picked up in a market in the then Livingstone, Preller developed a series of evocative and poetic paintings featuring open-topped and disembodied heads. Often filled with serene and glistening pools of water, these so-called urn heads were used to explore the concepts of memory, personality and imagination. The earliest painting in the series, Urn Head (1939), to which the current sketch is clearly related, anticipated landmark paintings such as Mountain Pool (1946), The Grotto (1946) and Christ Head (1947 and 1952).

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