Important South African and International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery

Cape Town  |  10:30am Mon 5 Mar 2018


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Guna Massyn; The Visions that Dreams are Made of
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Lot 591

South Africa 1951-1975
The Visions that Dreams are Made of
signed, dated '72 and inscribed with the title in mirror writing
oil on canvas
182 by 213cm, unframed

Sold for R 50 000
Including Buyer's Premium and VAT R 56 840

Estimate R 60 000 - 80 000

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Accompanied by the original Statement, dated 14.5.74, signed by Alexis Preller and Guna Massyn.


The name of Guna Massyn is inextricably linked to that of the artist, Alexis Preller.

The two met in 1968 when Guna was eighteen years old and working as a postal clerk in Brits.  Taken by his earnestness, Preller befriended him, inviting him to visit his home, Dombeya, at Hartebeespoort. 

There Guna undertook his artistic studies encouraged by Preller, becoming his muse, companion and protégé. In time he took over the studio above the garage at Dombeya where he worked tirelessly. 

In 1972 the pair travelled to Europe, visiting Paris, the South of France and Greece, where Preller exposed Guna to the wonders of modern and continental art. Some time after their return, Preller purchased a house for Guna in Schoemansville where he set up a studio and held a two-day private exhibition of his ‘Holocaust Suite’.

Perhaps best known as the subject of Preller’s portraits of ‘Guna’, he nonetheless continued to progress himself as an artist in his own right. Central to this work, The Visions that dreams are made of, is a mysterious robed cyclops standing in a sphere and surrounded by tumbling figures reminiscent of those in Matisse’s La Danse, or Walter Battiss’ Orgy series. The title is written repeatedly on the surface in mirror writing, a technique notably employed by Leonardo da Vinci. A visual feast of riotous colour and movement, this painting offers a rare opportunity to experience the potential that Guna Massyn might have realised had he lived.  Tragically he died in a fatal car accident in 1975, aged just 24.

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