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hether figurative or abstract, these artworks provide an interesting view of South African social and cultural history as it unfolded over the 20th Century and into the new millennium. Thus, while there is a great deal of variety in terms of subject and style, the artworks that have generated such excitement among collectors locally and abroad may be united by a conceptual rubric that one may describe as existing between the image and the imagination: by engaging with the physical appearance of things and people, they all “image” the experiences and visual sensations that they transcribe. At the same time

Pierneef, Jacob Hendrik; (1886 - 1957); “Farmhouse in a Vast Landscape”; Casein on Paper; 22.7 x 30.4cm; Signed: “JH Pierneef” (Lower/Right); Dated: 1926

The increasing interest by local and foreign collectors alike in 20th Century South African art has brought into sharp focus the range and scope of a body of artworks that is as diverse, compelling and provocative as the artists who produced them and the country with which they are associated. Words: FEDERICO FRESCHI Images: © GRAHAM’S FINE ART GALLERY

Battiss, Walter Whall (F.R.S.A F.I.A.L); (1906 - 1982); “Metaphysical Figures”; Oil on Canvas; 32 x 42cm; Signed: “Battiss” (Lower/Left)

they provide a conceptual “imagining” of aspects of the South African subject, by engaging it in different ways and in different contexts. Extrapolating from this, four obvious categories emerge: Landscape, Still Life, People and Abstraction. These are not rigid categories, and – obvious exceptions aside – there is often a great deal of overlap between them. What they all have in common, however, is the subtle and complex conceptual and creative synergies that exist between the acts of looking and seeing; creating and perceiving; the seen and the unseen. Landscape is one of the most enduring and important themes in South African art. This is hardly surprising, given not only the variety, scale and beauty of South Africa’s natural resources, but also the

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