Press Office

Pinker Delights at Strauss & Co's Spring Auction

  16 September 2014     Archived

The rising interest in Stanley Pinker's art is sure to attract buyers and viewers alike to Strauss & Co's upcoming auction scheduled for 13 October 2014 at the Vineyard Hotel, Newlands in Cape Town when the artist's OH AHA (R1,000,000 - 1,500,000) comes under the hammer.

Stanley Pinker [1924-2012] OH AHA

The market has seen phenomenal growth in his work since Strauss & Co broke the world record for Pinker in October 2012 when his Wheel of Life, a key work in the artist’s oeuvre, sold for R2,450,800. Identifying the subject of Girl in Sunglasses drew great media attention in February 2012, resulting in an astonishing R1,448,200, more than four times the estimates. Love triumphed in March 2014 when it reached R3,410,700 and Camping in the Kouebokkeveld, a major painting celebrating South Africa’s ancient and modern artists, sold in June this year for R2,728,320.

Stanley Pinker is regarded as one of South Africa’s most significant artists and teachers, who is acclaimed as a mentor by many younger generation artists. As the subject of major museum exhibitions and catalogues as well as a serious monograph, he commands critical attention and no serious collection is complete without his work.

Stanley Pinker’s OH AHA is a multilayered work displaying all the wit, intelligence, humour and sensuality that has made his paintings so sought-after. The semantic word-play of the title conveys many meanings from ‘oh’ indicating surprise to ‘aha’ suggesting understanding, agreement or achievement. Following the discovery of ‘aha’ with the delight of ‘haha’ invokes both humour and the iconoclasm of the Dadaists.

The inclusion of lettering is reminiscent of the Cubist paintings of Picasso and Braque but these are not merely formal elements. ‘Made in Japan’ alludes to the concerns regarding foreign imports and the debates around mass-production versus authenticity. Rich in multiple art references, the envelope intersected with lines and circles pays homage to artists like Suprematist painter and theorist, Kazimir Malevich and Russian Constructivist, Alexander Rodchenko, who were instrumental in ‘pushing the envelope’ of painting to question perception and illusion.

The repetition of ‘oh’, ‘aha’ and ‘haha’ creates a progression of sounds culminating in a frisky couple who dance by the light of the moon, their jiving embodying the syncopated rhythms of jazz. The Union Castle liner steaming into the distance alludes to a time when hopeful immigrants were arriving every week from post-war Europe with all the optimism of a better life in the sun.

Areas of painterly application contrast with stencilled butterflies bringing the world of design into play. OH AHA brilliantly demonstrates Stanley Pinker’s sophisticated understanding of visual art, art history and of design as well as his consummate appreciation of the language of signs and of icons. Above an iconic Table Mountain a radiant sky heralds another memorable sunset over Cape Town.


Stanley Pinker [1924-2012]
Oil on canvas
101 by 152,5cm
R1,000,000 – 1,500,000

For further information contact: Bina Genovese
Tel: +27 21 683 6560