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 455 200
Lot 51
  • Stanley Pinker; Boating
  • Stanley Pinker; Boating
  • Stanley Pinker; Boating


Lot Estimate
ZAR 400 000 - 600 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 455 200

About this Item

South African 1924-2012
Boating

signed

oil on canvas
81,5 by 48,5cm excluding frame; 87,5 by 54 by 4cm including frame

Notes

"This languid portrayal of a couple out boating is illustrative of Pinker's essentially modernist approach to painting. The work cues numerous early twentieth century art historical references, from the indolent figures in Cezanne's work to the stillness and lazy repose of figures in both Seurat and Matisse. Much like the latter artist, particularly around the period he painted Luxe, Calme et Volupte (1904/05), Namibian-born Pinker focuses largely on composition and colour. Pinker's two figures, the woman clothed in sexualised red, the man wearing a triangular wedge of blue, inhabit flattened picture plane that defies illusionism. Despite the reach of the man's oars, which effectively bisect the picture horizontally, the composition is more obviously read by its vertical delineation.

The scene on the left, the exaggerated figuration of the man recalling San rock paintings, exists in opposition to the abstraction that dominates the right. Here Pinker appears to fulfil Cezanne's exhortation to 'treat nature by sphere, the cylinder, the cone'. Not that the two exist in opposition. The simple geometrical shapes on the right are echoed in the composition on the left: the man's circular head, his triangular bathing trunks, even the radius of his buttocks. The woman's fishing rod serves as a bridge between these two oppositional realms, where figuration and abstraction meet.

Notwithstanding Pinker' skilful and restrained use of red, blue and yellow, the overall tone of the painting is muted, melancholy almost. The couple is looking back at a scene in which the sun rests low on the horizon. The woman's rod serves as a wistful anchor to the past, the man's ambiguous gesture adding to the uncertainty. Is he leaving the boat? The uncertainty this question proposes marries well with Pinker's approach to painting generally. 'An essential quality is mystery,' he states in his self-titled monograph from 'For me no good work gives up all its secrets.'"1

1Sean O'Toole (ed) (2006) Between Foothold and Flight, catalogue number 3, Johannesburg: Graham's Fine Art Gallery, page 100.

Provenance

Graham's Fine Art Gallery, Johannesburg, 13 July 2006.

The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection.

Literature

Sean O'Toole (ed) (2006) Between Foothold and Flight, catalogue number 3, Johannesburg: Graham's Fine Art Gallery, page 100 and illustrated in colour on page 101.

View all Stanley Pinker lots for sale in this auction



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