South African Art, Jewellery and Decorative Arts

Including The Professor Walter Beck Collection of Chinese Works of Art, Ceramics, Japanese Cloisonné, Glass and Books

Cape Town  |  2:00pm Mon 6 Feb 2012


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Lot 551

South African 1903-1938
Three Women on a Balcony
85 by 60cm excluding frame

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 Wolf Kibel’s Three Women on a Balcony is remarkable for several reasons, not least of which is its considerable size in an oeuvre in which the artist produced mostly modest-sized works. Inevitably it recalls Édouard Manet’s The Balcony with its three fashionable Parisian figures elegantly posed before a shuttered door. They gaze down on what we assume to be the street below or the space that we, the viewers, occupy. The balcony, in its role as a useful theatrical device that affords the privileged a perfect view of the passing parade, is here also used to draw attention to a life of elegance and luxury.

Unlike Manet’s painterly Impressionism, Kibel has rendered the scene in a more graphic and expressive manner. The graphic technique reveals his superb draughtsmanship that structures the composition and contains the delicate colouring and playful patterning. The strong simplification of figures and features proves that Kibel was well aware of artistic developments made in Europe by Modigliani and his fellow artists from the School of Paris.

The three women are believed to be the artist’s wife Freda Kibel, Rachel Lipshitz and Rosa van Gelderen, the latter being an  influential school principal and art teacher - a strikingly good-looking woman who was also painted by Irma Stern.

South African National Gallery, Cape Town, and Pretoria Art Museum, 1976, Wolf Kibel Retrospective, cat no 84

Stephan Welz, Art at Auction in South Africa 1969-1989, Ad Donker, Johannesburg, 1989, page 147, illustrated

Estimate: R 350 000 - 400 000 

Sold for R 500 000
Which is R 557 000 incl Buyer's Premium and VAT

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