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Wednesday, 11 March 2020 11:30

Unique auction celebrates the history and legacy of The Caversham Press

Written by 
Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge, Little Morals Frontis, 1990.

Aspire Art Auctions presents a special curated auction of 90 original prints from the archives of the iconic Caversham Press which was established in a small old church in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands by master printer Malcolm Christian in 1985. This is a unique opportunity for art collectors to acquire rare and sought after limited editioned prints by leading South African artists.

The distinct range of prints by 46 artists are all in mint condition bearing The Caversham Press chopmark. Technically superb, the works are of varied themes and subject matter - from the politically relevant to the symbolic to the powerfully expressive.

Featured artists include among others: Andrew Verster, Andries Botha, Bonnie Ntshalintshali, Colbert Mashile, Colin Richards, David Koloane, Deborah Bell, Gavin Younge, Joni Brenner, Malcolm Payne, Marion Arnold, Helen Sebidi, Norman Catherine, Penny Siopis, Peter Clarke, Peter Schütz, Robert Hodgins, Sthembiso Sibisi, Walter Oltmann and William Kentridge.

Iconic works include William Kentridge’s large etching Felix in Exile from 1994 and Robert Hodgin’s Little Morals suite of hand-coloured etchings as well as intricate works by Peter Clarke, Helen Sibidi and Sthembiso Sibisi’s 1996 lithograph Burning Hill.

The Aspire X Caversham auction is currently open for bidding online and will conclude with a live auction on Thursday 19 March at 7 pm in Johannesburg.

The catalogue of works can be views on the Aspire Art Auctions home page

Master printmaker Malcom Christian, along with his wife Ros, ran Caversham as a professional, independent printmaking studio for over 30 years. Established in 1985 in a small old church in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Caversham has played an integral role in the evolution of South Africa’s world-class printmaking tradition.

Malcolm is best known for his outstanding screen-printing, developing this technique from its traditional association with hard-edge colour to more painterly possibilities. He was skilled in many other techniques and at Caversham, could offer artists lithography, relief printing, all etching processes and often combinations of more than one. In recent years, Malcolm began to make small-scale artists books.

Malcolm has worked one-on-one with individual artists for their own portfolios and exhibitions; undertaken commissioned projects; conceived group projects that have focused on the zeitgeist of that specific time; and organised a series of international residencies where artists from other countries have made prints alongside local artists. In addition, along with Gabisile Nkosi, he set up the Caversham outreach programme.

This curated auction represents just a fraction of the creative work undertaken at Caversham over its thirty years of existence. Locally and internationally, most master printmakers are among the unsung heroes of the professional art world. They enable a whole subsection of artworks that are accessible in terms of market availability and price; but more importantly, these artworks have visual qualities unachievable by any other creative process.

The exhibition of works to be auctioned can be viewed at Aspire’s offices during weekdays until Thursday 19 March.  For enquiries contact Johannesburg +27 11 243 5243 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ONLINE BIDDING: Until Thursday 19 March

LIVE AUCTION: Thursday 19 March at 7 pm in Johannesburg

PUBLIC PREVIEW: Weekdays from Tuesday 11 March to Thursday 19 March, 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

PREVIEW & LIVE AUCTION VENUE: Aspire Art Auctions, Ground Floor, Building 3, Illovo Edge, 5 Harries Road, Illovo

Aspire Art Auctions

Aspire Art Auctions is a South African-based, specialist art auctioneering firm and art consultancy. Dealing in modern and contemporary art from South Africa, Africa and the diaspora, the company is headed by a grouping of partners and art specialists with formidable collective knowledge and expertise who ensures that works of art are well researched and presented to collectors in comprehensive historical and cultural contexts.

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