Live Auction, 12 November 2018

Sold for

R 136 560
Lot 292
Frans Oerder; Fort Ibo, East Africa

Lot Estimate
R 100 000 - 150 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
R 136 560

About this Item

South African 1867-1944
Fort Ibo, East Africa
signed; signed and inscribed with the title on the reverse
oil on canvas
49,5 by 35,5cm excluding frame


Frans Oerder arrived in Pretoria in 1890 from Rotterdam. In 1899, and at the request of President Paul Kruger, he joined the Boer cause as an official war artist. Apart from sketching Boer positions in the field, the artist produced a fine group of British portraits while interned as a prisoner of war at Meintjeskop. After his release he travelled up the east coast of Africa, producing a small but remarkable body of exotic, sultry-aired vignettes characterised by torn banana fronds; crumbling, white-washed blockhouses; driftwood lean-tos driven into the sand; beached hulls waiting for the tide; and lithe, dark, slow-moving figures on the rocks. The present lot is a rare addition to this east African group, and catches the artist at the gates of the Forte de São João Batista on Ibo Island in the then Portuguese East Africa (present day Mozambique). A colonial guard, heavy-booted, stands sentry in the shade, while the interior courtyard, only glimpsed through the gates, appears deserted. Oerder spent some time accurately transcribing the inscription on the pediment, which referred to the building of the five-pointed fort by the Portuguese in the late eighteenth century. It served a military role, of course, and played a part in the area’s slave trade.

Oerder, whose trip was cut short by malaria, might be the first on an extraordinary list of twentieth-century artists painting on the African east coast. If the tradition began with him, it was continued impressively by Hugo Naude, Henk Pierneef, Frieda Lock, Irma Stern, Alexis Preller, Terrence McCaw and Walter Battiss.

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