ANTON VAN WOUW
1862 - 1945
signed and dated: A van Wouw / S.A. Joh_burg / 1907 and inscribed: FouNDRY - G. MASSA - ROMA
bronze, mid-brown patina
Overall the condition of the bronze is good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The bronze has had a knock at the right corner to the reverse and there are fissures at the reverse (where the patina has darkened) and to the side (with wax fill); the base is slightly warped here. There is a minor fissure to the base above this area. There are some water marks and/ or minor fissures to the top of the base. Minor dirt and paint residues in the proper right ear and hair. A few minor scratches. The bronze would probably benefit from a light cleaning by a professional conservator.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Anton van Wouw was the sculptor of the peoples of South Africa par excellence. Van Wouw was born in Driebergen, Holland in 1862, moving to Pretoria at the age of 28. Despite having taken classes in art at the Rotterdam Academy, it was some time before van Wouw gained commissions in South Africa, a country in which there were few opportunities for sculptors at the time. Van Wouw is today regarded as being the father of South African sculpture. Some of his most celebrated pieces are his sensitive depictions of the indigenous peoples of South Africa: Shangaan is one his defining models. According to Duffey, the model shows "a typical supplicatory posture and it attests to Van Wouw's keen observation of the various postures of the African miner in early Johannesburg... Conspicuous in the best Italian castings are the distinctness of the frown on the forehead, the protruding mouth, the exact lines of the armband, the well-modelled right thumb and ears and the contrast between the dark patina of the hair on the head and the light brown patina of the rest of the body." The present bronze is a fine cast by the Roman Massa foundry.
Pierneef Van Wou: Paintings and Sculptures by two South African Masters, exh. cat. Rembrandt van Rijn Foundation, Johannesburg, 1980, no. 50; A.E. Duffey, Anton van Wouw: The Smaller Works, Pretoria, 2008, p. 63