South African Art, Jewellery and Decorative Arts

Including The Professor Walter Beck Collection of Chinese Works of Art, Ceramics, Japanese Cloisonné, Glass and Books

Cape Town  |  2:00pm Mon 6 Feb 2012


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Lot 597

South African 1924-2012
Girl in Sunglasses
signed; inscribed with the artist's name, address, title and medium on the reverse
oil on canvas
61 by 46cm excluding frame

Sold for R 1 300 000
Including Buyer's Premium and VAT R 1 448 200

Estimate R 300 000 - 500 000

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Stanley Pinker’s Girl in Sunglasses delights us with its formal innovations as much as with its sheer, sassy presence. Such technical bravado and sense of style are only possible in the hands of a consummate artist with an assured understanding of the formal and expressive possibilities of painting.

In his forward to the artist’s monograph South African National Gallery curator, Hayden Proud, points out that Stanley Pinker was one of the few South African painters returning from Europe with a thorough understanding of the language of Modernism in painting – ‘of dealing intelligently with such concerns as the integrity of the picture plane, shallow pictorial space, open compositional modes and the notion of colour and texture as primary, independently expressive elements’.1

The painting retains a fresh contemporaneity despite having been painted years ago. Strong colour contrasts, dramatic diagonals and the rhythmic repetition of circular spectacles all animate the format to produce a portrait like no other. And yet there’s a remarkable universality to this image – she could be an evocation of Hugh Masekela’s jazzy ‘African Woman’, ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ or even a young rollerblader on Sunset Boulevard.

1. Hayden Proud, ‘A reflection on the art of Stanley Pinker’ in Michael Stevenson, Stanley Pinker, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, 2004, page 8

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