Stephan Welz & Co
Selling at an outstanding R638 750, Stephan Welz & Co. rounded off a successful art session with David Hockney’s ‘Paper Pools’ setting a new South African auction record for the piece.
In the late 1970s, David Hockney began experimenting with the unconventional paper pulp medium in an attempt to capture the subtle hues of shimmering light on water.
David Hockney’s Paper Pools, a sustained series of works made from coloured and pressed paper pulp, were made between August and October 1978.
Always excited by the exploration of an unfamiliar medium and by his understanding of how best to exploit its characteristics, Hockney immediately responded also to the lure of the intense colours, which did not just sit on the surface but were physically impregnated into it. His enthusiasm is straightforwardly conveyed in his text for the Paper Pools book published by Thames & Hudson in 1980: “I love new mediums and this was something I had never seen or used before. I think mediums can turn you on, they can excite you: they always let you do something in a different way, even if you take the same subject, if you draw it in a different way, or if you are forced to simplify it, to make it bold because it is too finicky. I like that.”
The Paper Pools were not created as conventional editions of identical impressions. That would have been an impossibility, given that each one had to be improvised with the coloured pulp within the broad outlines of the moulds. Every single picture is thus a unique variant, one moreover that exploits to the full the delicious materiality of the medium. One of the great joys of this prolonged experiment, which was to have a permanent impact on Hockney’s later exploitation of bold forms and intense colour, was the natural marriage with a subject that had preoccupied him in his first swimming pool paintings 14 years earlier: the refraction of light through gently moving water. The opportunity to depict water through a medium that was itself literally fluid led him to find new and often visually witty solutions to problems of depiction that had preoccupied him for so long, and through this joyous experience to reinvent his art as a life-affirming spectacle infused in a succulent, almost technicolour, brilliance.
Estimate R200 000 – R300 000
Sold for: R 638,550
Lithograph, signed, dated 80, numbered 243/1000 in pencil and embossed with the Tyler Graphics Ltd. chopmark; book with the title, text and justification, signed by the artist on the justification in red ink and stamped 243/1000, published by Thames and Hudson, 1980
The art session showcased some amazing highlights that ended a well-rounded year for Stephan Welz & Co.
R150 000 – R200 000
Sold for: R 178,650
R10 000 – R15 000
Sold for: R 35,730
R5 000 – R8 000
Sold for: R 12,771
Walter Whall Battiss
R200 000 – R300 000
Sold for: R 238,200