Transcending Boundaries: International Modern and Contemporary Art

Live Virtual Auction, 25 October 2023

International Modern and Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 8 794
Lot 6
  • Jack Heath; Venusian Apartments
  • Jack Heath; Venusian Apartments
  • Jack Heath; Venusian Apartments

Lot Estimate
ZAR 10 000 - 15 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 8 794

About this Item

British/South African 1915-1969
Venusian Apartments

signed, dated 1961 and inscribed with the title on the reverse

Indian ink and watercolour on paper
50,5 by 38cm excluding frame; 62 by 49 by 3,5cm including frame


The scale and substance of Jack Heath’s major paintings are in sharp contrast to his humorous, madcap, and hugely inventive works on paper. In this light, Venusian Apartments has at its centre a fantastical geometric construction, linked together by lozenges, squares, and strips of translucent pinks, blues, and purples, and surrounded by blasts of yellow and green from behind an intricate, combed motif.

John Charles Wood Heath (Jack) (lot 3, 4, 5 and 6) was born in Staffordshire and schooled at the Acock’s Green and Aston Elementary Schools in Birmingham. He won a scholarship to Handsworth Grammar School, where he remained from 1926 until 1932. He matriculated in 1931 with a distinction in History, and in 1932 he was awarded the Higher School Certificate in Literature, History and Art. He won a scholarship to the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts where he studied art between 1932 and 1936, followed by the Royal College of Art in London from 1936 to 1939. In 1938, he won the British Institute Empire Scholarship in Engraving and in 1939 the Drawing Prize. Heath is known for his paintings, drawings, engravings and murals, and he is generally considered to have been a British Modernist and Abstractionist but was also heavily influenced by Neo-Romanticism.

Heath married Jane Tully Parminter (lot 11) in 1940, and they had two children, Bronwen (Jinny) (lot 19) and Jonathan. He volunteered for service in the army at the outbreak of World War II, saw action in Italy in 1943, was injured on Queen’s Beach in the Normandy Landing in 1944, and was then demobilised in 1946. In mid-1946 the Heaths moved to South Africa, as he was appointed Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at Rhodes University College. In 1947, he was appointed as Head of the School of Art at the Technical College in Port Elizabeth, where he remained until 1952. He was appointed Professor of Fine Art at Natal University College, Pietermaritzburg, in January 1953. Heath died suddenly in June 1969.

Heath exhibited extensively in South Africa, including at the First Quadrennial Exhibition of South African Art in 1956, at Gallery 101 in 1962, and on the Eastern Province Society of Fine Arts Jubilee Exhibition in 1968, amongst others. In 1977, a posthumous exhibition of Heaths’ work was shown at the University of Natal and the Heath Family Retrospective was exhibited at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg between 2009 and 2010.

Heath’s works are represented in prestigious collections in England, including the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as in public and private collections in South Africa, such as the Tatham Art Gallery and Iziko South African National Gallery.

View all Jack Heath lots for sale in this auction

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