Live Auction, 12 November 2018

Sold for

R 682 800
Lot 325
Walter Battiss; Birds and Flowers
  • Walter Battiss; Birds and Flowers
  • Walter Battiss; Birds and Flowers
  • Walter Battiss; Birds and Flowers
  • Walter Battiss; Birds and Flowers
  • Walter Battiss; Birds and Flowers

Lot Estimate
R 600 000 - 800 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
R 682 800

About this Item

South African 1906-1982
Birds and Flowers
signed
oil on canvas
45 by 70cm excluding frame

Notes

Walter Battiss often filled his canvases with flocks of birds. As early as 1950, in a work now in the Pretoria Art Museum, he depicted a rural landscape dotted with stylised cattle, and covered them with white egrets. Birds of Honolulu, 1976, in the Sasol Art Collection, is another example, and so is Birds at Sunset, 1980, at the Walter Battiss Museum in Somerset East, the artist’s place of birth. The most striking example of a canvas filled with birds is the Artist’s Hands, 1968, in the Johannesburg Art Gallery. In this work, Battiss covered the picture plane with imprints of his hands, dipped in thick green and blue oil paint, and in the palms of the hands, attached carved wooden birds that he bought on the side of the road on one of his many trips to Hartbeespoort Dam. The resulting sculptural surface indicates that the birds emanate from his artistic hands; that they are essentially his creations; that they are almost alive. In the present lot, the birds fill the blue sky, as if they are white stars, flying from the right-hand side of the canvas to the left. Their movement is complemented in the field of white flowers in the foreground, their stems pointing in the opposite direction, from left to right. Pattern and movement are thus the compositional criteria for this wonderful painting.


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