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 34 140
Lot 95
  • Kate Gottgens; Untitled (65), 2008
  • Kate Gottgens; Untitled (65), 2008

Lot Estimate
ZAR 20 000 - 30 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 34 140

About this Item

South Africa 1965-
Untitled (65), 2008

signed on the reverse and inscribed with the artist's name, title, date, and medium on a João Ferreira Gallery label adhered to the reverse

oil, acrylic and ash on canvas
30,5 by 40,5cm, unframed


Kate Gottgens forms part of a new vanguard of admired women painters who, in the last decade, have revolutionised South African painting. The Powell Collection includes two untitled works featured in Asleep Inside You, the artist’s breakthrough exhibition of dissolving figural compositions shown with dealer João Ferreira in 2009. A perceptive colourist who continually updates her palette, the works in Asleep Inside You were rendered mostly in browns, greys and blues, with additional washes of pink Untitled (65) (lot 95) and green. “She moves with an enviable confidence between the representational and the abstract,” noted artist Andrew Putter in a rave review that also revealed Gottgens’s use of found photographs as source material.1 Painting’s love affair and argument with photography is longstanding. Gottgens’s style certainly shares stylistic affinities with that of Gerard Richter’s photo paintings from the 1960s. In the manner of Richter, Gottgens destabilises her translated images by liquefying, hazing and colour tweaking details. This transformative approach to image making also informs Dead Man’s Float 2017 (lot 96), a work based on a scene that the artist photographed in the Cape Town suburb of Plumstead.
A laconic painter, Gottgens does not lavishly describe details or flesh out scenes in her work. The rudimentary tree flanking the sailboat in Dead Man’s Float is topped with spray-painted green foliage. When she paints people, Gottgens is similarly economical, offering only a basic architecture of gendered bodies. Faces are often incomplete.
1. Andrew Putter (2008) ‘Kate Gottgens at João Ferreira’, Artthrob, Issue 136, December: html, accessed 25 July 2022.


João Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town, 31 December 2008.

The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection.


João Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town, Asleep Inside You, 3 December 2008 to 10 January 2009.

View all Kate Gottgens lots for sale in this auction

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