Bat­tiss set to go un­der ham­mer

Pretoria News - - NEWS -

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.

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