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Large Battiss Combines Sensuality and Virtuosity

  1 January 2013     Archived

Walter Battiss is increasingly garnering positive critical acclaim as South Africans become aware of the extent of his practise and influence. While he mastered many media from print-making to performance, his paintings are generally of a modest scale.

So it is perhaps not surprising that his large painting, Bathers, sold for a record R1 336 800 at Strauss & Co’s March 2010 auction. More recently, African Figures broke all auction records for this artist when it sold for a deserved R2 562 200 at Strauss & Co’s Johannesburg sale in November 2012.

Figures in a Landscape is comparable in size and treatment to Bathers. Both display the technical skill and sensual subject matter that have made him one of the most sought-after artists at auction today. Across a painterly surface of warm tones flecked with white are gathered serried rows of African people busy with their daily activities of carrying, collecting, cooking and chatting. The even distribution of figures across the picture plane owes much to Battiss’s pioneering research into San rock art paintings.

Text by Emma Bedford, Senior Paintings Specialist

Lot 510
Walter Battiss
Figures in a Landscape
Oil on canvas
75 x 100 cm
R1 600 000 – 2 200 000

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