Important South African and International Art

Live Auction, 7 November 2016

Evening Sale

Sold for

ZAR 431 984
Lot 221
  • Maud Sumner; Tabletop Still Life

Lot Estimate
ZAR 200 000 - 300 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 431 984

About this Item

South African 1902-1985
Tabletop Still Life


oil on canvas laid down on board
36,5 by 44cm excluding frame


Tabletop Still Life bears testimony to Maud Sumner's close affiliation to Paris as the epicenter of European culture in the early part of the twentieth century. She began her art career as a student of the L'ecole de Paris, and throughout her life returned to live and work in the city that nurtured her artistic sensibilities. She returned to Paris after the war in 1947 and was immediately drawn to the new artistic trends, 'the new preoccupation with abstract art and the importance of colour.'1

The work of Henri Matisse was now certainly absorbed and adapted in to her painting. We see a distinctive simplification of form, the use of bold colours and a move towards a more abstract vision.2 The blocks of colour arranged on the surface, moreover, some very thinly applied, are reminiscent of Matisse's early Fauvist still lifes in which he deliberately left the texture of the unpainted canvas showing through.3

1 Frieda Harmsen. (1992) Maud Sumner: Painter and Poet, Pretoria: J. L. van Schaik. Page 76.

2 Ibid. Pages 76 and 77.

3 Federico Freschi. (2016) Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning, Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery. Page 42.

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