Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art

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Lot 161

South African 1957-
White Wagons, portfolio
each signed and numbered 'final proof' 1/1
etching and blind embossing
each 64,5 by 47,5cm

Sold for R 30 000
Including Buyer's Premium and VAT R 34 140

Estimate R 30 000 - 50 000


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A portfolio of 7 etchings accompanied by a Hietshware text recorded by the Reverend SS Dornan and first published in 1909 under the title What we Thought of the White Man's Wagons, edition limited to 25 copies and 5 artist's proofs, introductory page signed and inscribed 'The final proof', published by Aveage Private Press, Cape Town.

The text accompanying Pippa Skotnes’ portfolio of seven monochromatic etchings is the story told by an unknown Bushman and recorded by Samuel Dornan, an Irish Presbyterian missionary, o the first encounter between the trek boers in the Kalahari desert and the Bushmen. This episode is known in South African history as the tragic ‘Dorsland Trek’. The ubiquitous semi-circular shape in each of the etchings suggests the canopy of a wagon, a wagon wheel, or a soft leather pouch used by the Bushmen. It represents therefore the different ways in which the wagon was perceived by these two groups of people. The overall narrative refers to the manner in which the trek boers invaded the land, staking their claim, and introduced farming implements and weapons in opposition to the religious beliefs of the Bushmen, represented in the magical, cosmic space of their landscape, and the healing power of the shamanistic trance dance. The story teller ends by saying the wagons ‘died’ on the veld.


Pippa Skotnes (1993) In the Wake of the White Wagons (Standard Bank Young Artist 1993), Grahamstown: Standard Bank National Arts Festival. Other impressions from the same edition illustrated on pages 17 to 19.


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