Claudette Schreuders - Modern & Contemporary Art: Online Auction, New York New York Monday, June 17, 2024 | Phillips
  • The carved and painted wooden figures of Claudette Schreuders have propelled the South African artist to the forefront of contemporary sculpture. Drawing inspiration from a variety of sources including medieval church figures, traditional blolo bla and colon West African sculptures and Spanish portraiture, Schreuders creates narrative driven scenes fueled by a poignant undercurrent with only one or two figures. Often rooted in Schreuders’ personal experiences as a white woman raised in South Africa, these works center around the complexities of finding an African identity post-Apartheid while challenging the racism and inequality left behind by the continent’s colonial past.


    The Lover, 2002, exemplifies the sentimentality Schreuders is able to convey through her work. A mother sits on a bed with her child in her lap. Both figures wear stoic expressions, staring into the distance. This emotional neutrality is typical of Schreuders’ works, as she asks viewers to consider their own associations and experiences surrounding her compositions to unfurl their pathos.


    The present lot, derived from the imagery of motherhood, addresses themes of family, heritage and childrearing. Carved from solid blocks of jacaranda and pine wood, the unwavering density of the figures command space. Chip marks and cracks to the wood are visible through the layers of enamel and oil paint, echoing Schreuders' working process of subtraction and emphasizing the natural origins of the medium. 


    Viewers are prompted to not only ponder their perceptions of motherhood but contemplate how it connects to Schreuders’ idea of an African identity. The child is brought into a post-Apartheid world, vastly different than the one his mother grew up in. By depicting this inherent generational difference, the artist raises questions about raising child in a society that is not only rapidly changing but doing so out of a desire to distance itself from residual remnants of colonialism.


    Born in 1973 in Pretoria, Schreuders graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BFA in 1994 and earned an MFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 1997. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and Stevenson, Cape Town and included in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and the British Museum, London. Her work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town and the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, Stuttgart. 

    • Provenance

      Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006

    • Exhibited

      New York, Jack Shainman Gallery, Claudette Schreuders: Crying in Public, Opening–December 21, 2002
      Purchase, Neuberger Museum of Art, Living with Art: Collecting Contemporary in Metro New York, May 1–August 15, 2010

    • Literature

      Rory Bester, Fay Hirsch and Antjie Krog, Claudette Schreuders, Munich, 2011, pp. 144–145


The Lover

enamel and oil on jacaranda and pine wood
34 x 37 x 18 1/4 in. (86.4 x 94 x 46.4 cm)
Executed in 2002.

Full Cataloguing

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $44,450

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Modern & Contemporary Art: Online Auction, New York

17 - 26 June 2024