Battiss set to go under hammer
WALTER Battiss’s iconic painting Figures Crossing a River, created with a palette knife and displaying his playful nature, is going under the hammer.
It will be at the Stephan Welz & Co Fine Art and Design auction on November 21 and 22 at Killarney Country Club in Joburg.
Battiss described the painting as a creation of defying the odds and being rebellious.
The South African artist was born in 1906 and died in 1982. Legend has it that he chose to paint with a palette knife because Wits University arts students were told never to paint with a palette knife.
“I loved painting with a palette knife. I loved being a rebel, doing what they said I mustn’t do,” he was quoted as saying.
The signed oil work is expected to fetch R250 000 to R350 000, said Stephan Welz & Co paintings specialist Luke Crossley.
“This is one of the best examples of his technique using a palette knife. He managed to achieve a three-dimensional quality to works in which he used the technique, and the result is quite special.”
Among other offerings at auction is The Building View by William Kentridge, which is also expected to go for R250 000 to R350 000.
Crossley described the painting as a charcoal and pastel on paper work depicting an old building in the Joburg CBD with a likeness to the landmark art deco Anstey’s Building, dating back to the 1930s.
“Collectors who have viewed the work in our showroom recognise the building from the time they were growing up and have immediately connected with it,” Crossley said.
A work of Maggie Laubser (1886-1973), Horses and Cart, will also be auctioned. Crossley said this was her most accessible work and more restrained than many of her other paintings.
A signed archival print, The Painting, by British artist Colin Jones, who was for a time the official photographer of The Who and the Rolling Stones, will go on auction for an estimated R40 000 to R50 000. “This is a classic portrait of The Who and will resonate with anyone who is into rock music,” Crossley said.
Ephraim Mojalefa Ngatane lived between 1938 and 1971, and his painting, Musicians, depicts jazz players, probably in a Joburg township, during the grim mid1950s.
“Ngatane often sought out the softer side of life, and the work shows his love of people who were creating and succeeding in very trying times,” Crossley said.
He said the signed painting was expected to be sold for R80 000 to R120 000.
Paintings by Adriaan Hendrik Boshoff (1935-2007) and Pieter Hugo Naudé (1868-1941) will also be highlights of the auction.
Women feature in works by Gregoire Boonzaier (1909-2005) and Maurice van Essche on offer at the auction.
Crossley said both oil on board paintings were signed, with Boonzaier’s Woman in Red and Van Essche’s Portrait of a Woman each being offered for an estimated price of R50 000 to R90 000.
A painting reflecting the rebellious and playful spirit of artist Walter Battiss forms a centrepiece of a fine art and design auction.