Important South African and International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery

Cape Town

10:30am Mon 5 Mar 2018


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Lot 507

South African 1929-2014
signed and dated 1.1.2007 twice and inscribed with the title and text
gouache and collage on paper
sheet size: 49,5 by 34,5cm

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Inscription reads:

"Walter Battiss

Sometimes the size of one's homeland can be as huge as the world. Even though we lived in the same country, Walter Battiss & I never met.  However, because I liked his work I decided to contact him.

What appealed to me was his flamboyance together with the hint of an almost childlike playfulness & naughtiness in some of his art that was, in fact, an expression of his unmistakeable sense of humour & zest for life.

I also sent him some graphics & asked if he'd be interested in swopping prints with me.  His response was immediate & positive.  Soon, much to my delight, a tube containing his work arrived in exchange.

Whenever I look at his images I find, almost secretly, a smile forming."

"The combination of text and image had taken a new form in the Fan series. Clarke used the shape of an open fan to provide continuity throughout the series, saying 'I fell in love with the idea of variations for a visual series in the same way that classical composers' music often takes the form of a theme with variations' (Clarke and Stevenson 2004: 6)/ He created evocative images within the format of the fan while inscribing related texts below. Many fans pay homage to a specific personality, the text often supposedly 'speaking' in the first person, sometimes in a soliloquy, sometimes in conversation with Clarke. The inscription signals that the works are personal because the text is transcribed in his own distinctive handwriting and, whether or not he speaks with his own voice, one is constantly aware of Clarke's experiences and ideas  and his puckish humour. It is as though he is enacting a masquerade, perhaps in an alternative modus operandi to the masked figures and actors that have recurred throughout his oeuvre. Here he uses the voice of the 'players' to raise many themes - public or private, poignant or poetic, anguished or angry, witty or wistful. Clarke speaks of the visual richness of the fan which '..represents an object that has a very definite shape, appearance (sometimes plain, sometimes absolutely striking) and even quiet presence. Interestingly too, it can often be fragile' (Clarke and Stevenson 2004: 10). And the form of the fan suggests a hidden image that can be folded away, indicative, perhaps, of how messages can be open or secret, and the way people may be extrovert or withdrawn" (Hobbs and Rankin, 2011: Pages 197-198).

Estimate: R 40 000 - 60 000 

This lot did not sell

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