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Girl in sunglasses reveals herself!

  31 January 2012     Archived

Stanley Pinkers Girl in Sunglasses, estimated at R300 000 500 000, on Strauss & Cos upcoming auction to be held at the Vineyard Hotel, Newlands, on 6 February 2012, has been revealed as Anna Starcke, prize-winning journalist, author, publisher and political risk and transformation consultant to business leaders over the past 30 years

She was easily identified by one of her contemporaries who noted that the Starckes and Pinkers were good friends in the late sixties and that Anna was instantly recognisable as the only young woman on Clifton Beach with those round sunglasses and an elegant kerchief tied around her hair.

She was clearly a striking beauty as, earlier in the 1960s, she also sat for Irma Stern who produced a very different portrait of her, with her hair dramatically pulled back to emphasise her aquiline nose.

In an email to Ann Palmer, Head of the Paintings Department at Strauss & Co, Starcke revealed:

"When Stanley returned to Cape Town in 1964 and was planning to hold his first local exhibition after a decade in Europe, I happily was the 
custodian of the Association of Arts Gallery ...

It’s nearly 50 years ago so memories are a little hazy but there’s one that is totally, utterly crisp in my mind. Here’s why: Whom, I asked, would he like   
to open his exhibition? Stanley said he didn’t know anybody and in any case would be most happy if I would open it “seeing as you like my stuff
so much”. I was delighted but also most apprehensive – I had never made a public speech and told him so. But now Stanley insisted I should do it.

On the opening night, being the custodian, I had a bell in my hand to hush the crowd for the opening speech. And you guessed it: because I was nervous as hell, there was a steady tinkling right through the speech. The reason I remember it so clearly – and have thanked Stanley in my mind many times over – was that the experience made me determined to perfect the skill of speaking confidently in public, something I henceforth pursued relentlessly. So yes: thank you again Stanley for having contributed decisively to my career development.

The Pinkers lived in Hout Bay in a glorious barn they had built on the beach. It probably wasn’t, but that’s how I remember it. Sun-drenched golden sand, lots of colour in a light-flooded house, lots of red wine and always Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. With Bettie Pinker presiding over everything like a wonderfully wholesome, pink-cheeked Earth Mother in floor-length caftans. And Stanley laughing that distinct, rumbling laugh of his, often self-deprecating at some outrageous remark he’d made.

Most of us had small children and spent our Sundays picknicking together on that beach, spilling out from that bright house. And everybody – apart from Helmut and me and the Webbers – or so it seemed, was blond. The Pinkers, the Arnotts, the Atkins’, the Laubschers.

The idyll lasted to the late Sixties. ... it produced some fabulous, invigoratingly new South African art ... And for that we are surely grateful today."


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