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 68 280
Lot 97
  • Kate Gottgens; Resident Alien
  • Kate Gottgens; Resident Alien
  • Kate Gottgens; Resident Alien

Lot Estimate
ZAR 60 000 - 80 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 68 280

About this Item

South Africa 1965-
Resident Alien

signed on the reverse

oil on canvas
95 by 95cm excluding frame; 98 by 98 by 5cm including frame


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.


SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, 12 March 2018.

The Oliver Powell and Timely Investments Trust Collection.


SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, Tired from Smiling, 22 November 2017 to 27 January 2018.


Sean O'Toole (2017) Kate Gottgens: Paintings 2015 - 2017, Cape Town: SMAC Gallery, illustrated in colour on page 21.

View all Kate Gottgens lots for sale in this auction

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