Live Virtual Auction, 11 - 12 October 2021

Sold for

ZAR 147 940
Lot 263
  • Douglas Portway; Orange T
  • Douglas Portway; Orange T
  • Douglas Portway; Orange T
  • Douglas Portway; Orange T
  • Douglas Portway; Orange T

Lot Estimate
ZAR 80 000 - 120 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
ZAR 147 940

About this Item

South African 1922-1993
Orange T
signed; dated 1965 and numbered No. 22 on the reverse; inscribed with the artist's name, the date, the title and the medium on a Johans Borman label adhered to the reverse

oil on canvas
89 by 116cm excluding frame; 100,5 by 126 by 4,5cm including frame


Douglas Portway’s White Globe (1967) and Orange T (1965), both seminal works, constitute milestones in the artist’s career. The former is a brilliant synthesis of the abstract expressionist influences on his work, most notably by the Mexican artist, Rufino Tamayo, and the Chinese-French artist, Zao-Wou-Ki. Portway first encountered Tamayo’s work on a study tour to the US sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1952 and, after he moved to Europe in 1957, he saw Zao-Wou-Ki’s work in Paris and later in the UK in 1959. The latter work, Orange T, possibly done after Portway met Louis Maqhubela in 1967, is one of the first examples of Portway’s work that bears scratchy, calligraphic forms and shapes (notably in the upper part of the picture plane), an artistic feature introduced to him by Maqhubela. Stick-like figures are also a feature of the work of Swiss-German artist, Paul Klee, an artist whose work both Portway and Maqhubela revered. Typical of Portway’s work, both paintings centre on a focal point (the globe and the T in these two cases), a fulcrum around which swelling, cloud-like masses dissolve into voids of infinite nothingness.


Bonhams, London, 24 March 2010, lot 76.

Johans Borman Fine Art, Cape Town.

Private Collection.

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