Important South African and International Art

Live Auction, 13 November 2017

Session Two

Sold for

ZAR 45 472
Lot 297
  • Walter Oltmann; Coelacanth


Lot Estimate
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 45 472

About this Item

South African 1960-
Coelacanth

signed, dated 2010 and numbered 7/10 in pencil in the margin

linocut
image size: 89,5 by 177,5cm

Notes

Walter Oltmann’s linocut of a coelacanth, a deep-sea vertebrate once thought to be extinct, is captivating on a number of levels. Oltmann is particularly attracted to the mythology surrounding the coelacanth as a hybrid form of creature that was thought to represent an evolutionally transitonal state between fish and land animal. The artist evokes the mythical duality of the creature by including subtle human elements in the form of a human foot, hand and eye.

Oltmann uses the stark contrast of the linocut medium to render the life size, shy creature that is known to inhabit very deep waters off the South African coastline. The linocut creates the effect of a pale creature suspended against a dark background as if floating in the depth of the ocean while also referencing displaced creatures found in museums bleached by formaldehyde in the tanks in which they are displayed.

Provenance

Another example from this edition is in the Standard Bank Corporate Collection.

Exhibited

Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, Water, the [Delicate] Thread of Life, 28 July 2011 - 01 October 2011.

Literature

Marion Dixon (ed.) (2011). Water, the [Delicate] Thread of Life, Johannesburg: Standard Bank of South Africa. Illustrated on pages 69 and 94.

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