Important South African and International Art

Live Auction, 7 November 2016

Evening Sale

Sold for

ZAR 341 040
Lot 240
  • Alexis Preller; Moon Suite, three
  • Alexis Preller; Moon Suite, three
  • Alexis Preller; Moon Suite, three
  • Alexis Preller; Moon Suite, three

Lot Estimate
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 341 040

About this Item

South African 1911-1975
Moon Suite, three

all signed and dated '71

collage and oil on board
11,5 by 12cm; 11,5 by 14cm; 11,5 by 13,5cm; artist's frames: 47,5 by 44,5cm


Although Alexis Preller painted Moon Suite quite late in his life, the three miniature paintings, respectively titled Rendezvous, In orbit, and Blast-off, constitute the synthesis of an important strand in his artistic sensibility: the non-figurative, abstract expressionist side of his work. They reflect Preller’s interest in space travel in the late 1960s in the wake of the Apollo landing on the moon. The Suite evokes the surrealist imagery in Preller’s work on his return to South Africa in 1943, having spent time as a Prisoner of War in Italy and in North Africa, while the abstract shapes are redolent of the austere landscapes of well-known French surrealist painter Yves Tanguy. In addition, the Suite can be related to Preller’s strong reaction to the precision and decorative requirements of the mural he was commissioned to paint for the Transvaal Provincial Administration Building in Pretoria in 1958. Preller subsequently resorted to an abstract expressionist style, which Esmé Berman calls a form of ‘abstract symbolism’ or ’an informal taché-ism’.1 (1983: 350).

1 Esmé Berman. (1983) Art & Artists of South Africa: An illustrated biographical dictionary and historical survey of painters, sculptors and graphic artists since 1875, Cape Town: A.A. Balkema.


Pretoria Art Museum, Arcadia Park, Alexis Preller Retrospective, 24 October to 26 November 1972, catalogue number 182

Exhibited on the exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum, , and illustrated in the catalogue (no pagination).


A.J. Werth. (1972) Alexis Preller Retrospective. Ilustrated, unpaginated.

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