About the Foundation
The aim of the Gerard Sekoto Foundation is to develop awareness and understanding of Gerard Sekoto's legacy by teaching the South African public about Sekoto's life, art, music, philosophy and his writings. The will of Gerard Sekoto expressed his wish that his Estate should be used to uplift art education for young South African children. Formal art education was not offered to black South Africans during the apartheid era and he hoped to see this rectified in the future.
FAKE VS REAL THING
The Gerard Sekoto Foundation oversees the legacy of Gerard Sekoto's oeuvre and the artist's copyright. In recent years, fake paintings have become a new industry, not only of Sekoto's work, but also many other well known artists' work.
This phenomenon is a complete violation of any artist's legacy and in this specific case, negates the importance of Sekoto's heritage.
The Gerard Sekoto Foundation wishes to expose the fraudulent behaviour of unscrupulous criminals who perpetrate this behaviour especially regarding Sekoto's work.
The Gerard Sekoto Foundation will post images of any fake paintings, purporting to be genuine Sekoto paintings, on its website to advertise their existence and to educate the public on what is not Sekoto's oeuvre. It is hoped this will discourage illegal activity in this secondary market.
Illustrated are an example of two 'look –alike' paintings – one a genuine, Original work dating c 1940 by Sekoto and the second, a look alike Copy, dated 1967.
Sekoto's stylistic development in France, from 1947 until his death in 1993 (post –exile), changed dramatically from his style of the work he made between 1938 -1947 ( 'pre-exile') in South Africa. The Copy of the painting under discussion, dated 1967, is an anathema from any of the work Sekoto was making in the 1960's.
It was only in 1986/7 that Sekoto was reminded of his early production, when he received photographs of the works, as they were discovered and documented by his biographer for the book that would be published in 1988. Although stimulated to be re-connected with his early works, he was not, even then, inspired to copy and re-produce earlier works. The Copy painting is curiously dated 67, with a block signature (attachment) that has never previously appeared, on over 1000 catalogued works by Gerard Sekoto. It is without doubt not authentic.
The original painting Boy with a Yellow Cap c 1940 oil on board 40 x 29.5cm (right attachment) has a provenance which is well documented: it belonged to the late Prof Murray Schoonraad, who bought it directly from Sekoto. The painting is definitively dated, as Prof Schoonraad is on record saying how he acquired the painting.
In late 1939/ early 1940, Sekoto was taught, over a period of 6 weeks, to use oil paints by the artist, Judith Gluckman. Boy with a Cap is clearly an early experimental attempt by Sekoto, using this newly acquired technique, but already shows signs of the skill and dexterity in brushwork and colour tonalities, for which Sekoto became famous.
The second painting, the COPY, ( left attachments) has recently appeared on the market and has purportedly come from the UK. It is being marketed as a work of Sekoto's hand, and yet shows none of the effortless versatility that is already evident in Sekoto's early work. The colour tonalities and painterly techniques differ markedly in the two paintings, the Original dynamic, the Copy leaden and solid:
The boy's cap, in the Original, comprises gold/brown tones with a range of light to dark, which are subtly integrated by brushwork. In the Copy, buttercup yellow tones predominate, and the painterly technique is flat, lacking in dexterity and vivacity.
The shadow on the forehead beneath the cap/above the left eye and ear is a muted deep grey in the Original, whilst in the Copy the shadow is depicted as a solid block of purplish colour, lacking all subtlety.
The highlights of the skin tone and texture around the eye and the cheek also differ markedly in the two versions. In the Original painting, Sekoto uses a striated, brushwork effect contrasting the lightest and darkest tones on the cheek, whereas in the Copy, the format is flat and tonal variations are painted as single blocks of colour.
The lips of the mouth differ in tonality and the subtlety of the paint application is sophisticated in the Original and amateurish, lacking energy, in the Copy. Sekoto applies more layers of paint to mould the lower lip, whereas in the Copy, the paint is flat and block-like.
The torso differs in composition, as the Original painting focuses on the whole upper body including the arms, with the hand of the upper arm folded into the curve of the elbow. In the Copy , this aspect of the arm has been cut off. The palette of the Original painting focuses on golden, brown tones intermingled with olive greens, and greys, energised by vigorous, loose brushwork focusing on both the shadow and the highlighted areas. Thick black impasto , under the right arm, swirls between the armpit and the chest. The Copy excludes this detail and presents instead, a somewhat insipid rendition of the arm pushed up against the chest.
It is as if the canvas has been chosen to fit an existing old looking frame, so the subject matter has to conform to the allowed space.
The palette of the Copy is made up of lemon yellows, apple green and sky blues, unlike the more subtle, energetic, tonal colour choice of the Original.
The Sekoto copyist has chosen an early work from Sekoto's production, where Sekoto is still in his own developmental process, discovering his skills and mastering his painterly technique. Sekoto's innate talent and skill were such, that within 6 months of the year 1940, Sekoto was able to create some of the greatest works of his career.
His copyist has tried hard to re-invent this painting, but he remains nothing more than a purveyor, lacking finite skill, an intuitive eye, colour sense and their emotive qualities, as well as significant emotional input.
Here we have the work of the master compared with that of the amateur.