View full screen - View 1 of Lot 116. Portrait Bleu.

Gerard Sekoto

Portrait Bleu

Gerard Sekoto

Gerard Sekoto

Portrait Bleu

Portrait Bleu

Gerard Sekoto

South African


Portrait Bleu (Boy)

signed G.Sekoto (lower right)

oil on canvas

65.5 by 54cm., 25¾ by 21¼in.

framed: 87 by 75.5cm., 34¼ by 29¾in.

The canvas appears original and unlined. The work is stretched, with its frame attached to a backboard. Please note, the work exhibits networks of craquelure throughout, however these appear stable. Examination under UV light exhibits areas of possible light retouching. Examples of this includes within the area above the figures right shoulder, and to the lower right-hand framing edge. Minor other examples elsewhere.Overall, this work is in good and stable condition.

Please note that Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.

The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Jean Falliès (1918-2008), acquired directly from the artist, Paris, circa 1969

Thence by direct descent

Oger-Blanchet, Paris, Collections modernes: The Collection of Jean Falliès, 24 May 2017, lot 108

Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

"Your large painting of an African head hanging on the wall opposite me. A young woman's. The most precious of my art collection .... Yes, this African maid you painted. Tonight, as so often, she seems to take on a different life .... And tonight the sounds I hear from my stereo help paint the mood. You must remember, of course, the blue that is dominant in your painting, varied by patches of white, toned down by dim artificial light in my living room… Big eyes, big lips, firm, youthful jaws, a handkerchief casually but elegantly worn, a stylised straight neck, a collarbone pulling with a horizontal tension ... Your African maid still does not flinch. Never will. And she continues to stare obliquely out of the wall, now part of the scene, now aloof from it." (Es'kia Mphahlele, Afrika My Music, 1984, pp. 60-1)

In 1947 Sekoto left South Africa in exile for Paris and never returned, the rest of his life running tragically in parallel to the apartheid regime. Sekoto was frequently short of money, and would often settle his outstanding bills with paintings. Jean Falliès was a Parisian dental surgeon who treated many artists, including Sekoto, and the present lot was one such work received in lieu of payment. In fact, while struggling to establish himself as an artist in the early Paris years, Sekoto made ends meet as a jazz musician instead, making him the first of many South African jazz exiles that followed, including Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba. Sekoto’s Blue Head series, which dominates his output in the 1960s, is thought to originate in a small 1960 ballpoint sketch inscribed ‘Inspiration - Mariam Makeba’. The rising international star Makeba had been profiled by Time Magazine on 1 February that year, and was in New York City recording her first solo album when the Sharpeville Massacre took place on 21 March and she learned her South African passport had been cancelled; thus began a period of political activism and exile that lasted until the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.