The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection

Live Virtual Auction, 20 September 2022

The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection
About the Session

Strauss & Co is pleased to present this extraordinary collection as the featured session this September Live Virtual Auction. An established insolvency practitioner with a passion for the arts, Oliver Powell's principal focus has been collecting South African painting, sculpture and works on paper made since 1950. Colour, graphic ingenuity and emotional weight are all attributes in an artwork that Powell is drawn to. Powell also emphasises the importance of his many encounters with artists. “There is so much value in meeting an artist,” says Powell. “Aspects and details of their life are reflected in what and how they paint.”


Sold for

ZAR 47 796
Lot 104
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych
  • Jo Ratcliffe; Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych


Lot Estimate
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 47 796

About this Item

South African 1961-
Mural portraits depicting Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev, painted on the wall of a house in Viriambundo, Angola, circa 1975, triptych

each signed, dated 2009, numbered 3/5 and inscribed with the title in pencil on the reverse

hand-printed silver gelatin print on paper
each: image size 50cm by 39cm, sheet size: 59,5cm by 49,5cm; 65 by 54,5 by 4,5cm including frame

Notes

In 2009, photographer Jo Ractliffe embarked on the first of two road trips across Angola to document the aftermath of the South African Border War (1966-90). She was guided by a group of South African combatants involved in this protracted conflict connected to the Cold War and South Africa’s imperial influence across the subcontinent. Her longstanding interest in Angola and the war was sharpened by an earlier photography project in Luanda titled Terreno Ocupado (2007). Her exploration of the country’s oil-rich coastal capital had suggested a need to explore the war-wracked interior. Ractliffe encountered an abandoned landscape “indifferent to the collapsing of time and history”.1 She photographed unpeopled battle sites, leftover military infrastructure, gravesites, monuments and mined landscapes. This selection foregrounds her interest in wall art as eloquent signifiers of history. Mural, FAPLA base Lobito (lot 105) was one of many frescoes at an abandoned military base near the southern port city of Lobito and abutted a slogan proclaiming the victory of socialism. Photographed at the same site, Comfort Station (lot 107) highlights the phenomenon of military prostitution. The triptych depicting Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Angola’s first president Agostinho Neto and Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev was found in a house in the southern settlement of Viriambundo. It has been extensively referenced in publications. Cuba actively supported Africa’s wars of independence, notably with troops, while Russia provided strategic military hardware.

1. Jo Ractliffe (2010) As Terras do Fim do Mundo, Cape Town: Stevenson, page 8.

Provenance

Stevenson, Cape Town, 1 November 2010.

The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection.

Exhibited

Stevenson, Cape Town, As Terras do Fim do Mundo, 21 October to 27 November 2010.

Metropolitan Museum, New York, The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe’s Photographs of Angola and South Africa, 24 August 2015 to 6 March 2016.

Literature

Stevenson (2010) As Terras do Fim do Mundo, Cape Town: Stevenson, illustrated on pages 106 to 108.

Monica Popescu (2020) At Penpoint: African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies, and the Cold War. Durham, Duke University Press, unpaginated.

View all Jo Ratcliffe lots for sale in this auction



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