Freemanart Gallery Gerard Sekoto

Gallery Archive & Biography


Archive example of the work of:

Gerard Sekoto

1913-1993- South African

A Portrait from the Blue Period/Paris

Size:12 x 19" approx.

Executed in Paris1963.
Gouache on paper. F&G.

Signed and dated bottom Right. G.SEKOTO 63, this important portrait was executed in 1963 in the city of Paris where the artist had been living and exhibiting after immigrating from South Africa in the late 1940's.The artist also exhibited widely in South Africa and the United States.


In 63, Sekoto sent this particular work via friends to Jean Bernadt in Cape Town.

She was well known in artisitic circles and the intention was for her to hang it in her home whilst trying to find a buyer for the piece amongst her friends and acquaintances.
It was here that our client saw the work and purchased it from her.
It has been in a private collection in North America since that time.


 Regarded as one of the pioneers and even, more recently, as the father of South African art, Sekoto ironically spent most of his productive years in Paris.
He was born on 9 December 1913, at the Lutheran Mission Station in Botshabelo near Middelburg in the Transvaal. At the age of six or seven, he was drawing on his brother's slate. He received his first formal art training at the Diocesan Training College to the west of Pietersburg. Sekoto qualified as a teacher and began teaching at Khaiso School. During this time he entered an art competition organised by the Fort Hare University, for which he was awarded second prize. He subsequently left the teaching profession in order to concentrate on his art. Preceding his move to France, he lived in various places, including

Sophiatown, District Six and Eastwood, Pretoria. He drew his inspiration from his surroundings and depicted a wide range of subjects, ranging from women talking among themselves to washday scenes and workmen in teams.

These works are extremely important for two reasons: They form a documentary record of places which were later obliterated under the apartheid regime, and they portray human conditions in a manner which shows the artist's empathy for human suffering.

Sekoto's life in Paris was one of a struggle to survive. He worked nights in clubs playing the piano to earn money. He obtained recognition as an artist through his exhibitions in Paris, Stockholm, Venice, Washington and Senegal. He was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of the Witwatersrand (1989), but was unfortunately unable to claim it personally due to illness. He died in March 1993 at a retirement home outside Paris.

1939: First on-man exhibit Pretoria.
1948: Overseas Exhibit of SA Art, Tate Gallery Et al.
1952: Van Riebeeck Tercent Exhibition, CT.
1962: Salon d'Automne, Paris.
1966: Rep Fest Exhibition, Pretoria

Public collections:
SA National Gallery, CT; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Pretoria Art Museum; William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberly; University of Wits Gals; UNISA.


Note: High quality - colour accurate images in TIFF format are available upon request, downloadable from our FTP site or direct to you by e mail as a JPEG image.


Copyright 2002. Freemanart:
Unauthorized use of the images illustrated is prohibited and protected under International laws of Copyright.