The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2022 Benefit Auction | Hosted by Sotheby’s

The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2022 Benefit Auction | Hosted by Sotheby’s

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 5. Metallic Magnificence .

Frances Goodman

Metallic Magnificence

No reserve

Lot Closed

February 22, 05:08 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 USD

Lot Details


Frances Goodman

South African


Metallic Magnificence

acrylic nails, foam, resin and silicone glue

98 by 76 by 43cm., 38½ by 30 by 17in.

Please be aware of the Conditions of Sale when bidding. As a benefit auction, there is no buyer’s premium charged. The only additional costs due to the winning bidder are applicable sales tax and shipping. Works auctioned are sold “as is,” and condition reports are included with lot descriptions as available. In-person previews of the auction artwork will be available at Norval Foundation at 4 Steenberg Rd, Tokai, Cape Town, 7945, South Africa from 26 January – 22 February, Monday to Sundays 9 AM – 5:00 PM (Closed on Tuesdays). Please note that while this auction is hosted on, it is being administered by Norval Foundation (“the museum”), and all post-sale matters (inclusive of invoicing and property pickup/shipment) will be handled by the museum. As such, Sotheby’s will share the contact details for the winning bidders with the museum so that they may be in touch directly post-sale.

This work has been kindly donated by the artist

Frances Goodman (b. 1975, South Africa) is an artist whose practice considers the materials and labour of the beauty industry. Goodman deftly deploys fake nails, false eyelashes, among many other items found in the beauty isle, to create works that are simultaneously seductive and appalling. The repetitive and meticulous gestures used to make her works mimic the repetitive and meticulous labours of nail salons and beauty maintenance regimes. By employing these materials and efforts Goodman's work draws attention to popular culture definitions that narrow the possibilities of female identity to extremes of consumption, aspiration, obsession, desire and anxiety. 


Metallic Magnificence makes use of individual artificial fingernails, which individually are rigid, temporary, and dispensable objects. But, when combined, the Goodman conjures organic, seemingly living forms that defy their inanimate composition. While they appear sumptuous and seductive, the sheer variety of bright colours and ouroboros-like shapes result in an appearance that is somewhat frightening – these works possess a definite venomous quality, their shapes and shades confronting the viewer like a vivid warning sign. Despite being an extension of the quintessentially attractive female body, nails can scratch and draw blood, especially during the throes of passion (or death).