Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou.

We walked down through the Company Gardens to the National Gallery to see the Tretchikoffs. As we walked up the stairs, a fine rain started falling, all sparkly in the sunshine. I loved the exhibition in the front hall: The Indian in Drum Magazine in the 1950's. If I could have one of those photographs, it would be the one of Tommy Chetty and a teenaged Amaranee Naidoo riding a motorcycle on the "Wall of Death". Her hands flying out at her sides, her eyes shut in bliss. She did stunts way into her eighties.

That signature I know so well. My grandmother had "Lost Orchid" in her hallway, above a dark wood half-moon table with a lustreware vase of fresh flowers, more often than not Gerrie Hoek dahlias from the garden. The rest of the house was impeccable - antiques and Persian rugs. My mother would raise her eyebrows when I mentioned the T-word.

I live with a small print of his "Birth of Venus".

Neither of these are at the gallery. But I loved seeing a host of familiar images in the flesh. The curator leaves judgment up to the observer. "Love it or hate it"...  personally, even if a work of art makes sense investment-wise, if I can't live with it, I don't want it. And there are very few of these paintings that I could live with. But it was a thrill to see the brush strokes, the impasto - I desperately wanted to touch those yellow dahlias.
The colours are still so fresh and vibrant, and yes, often garish. His floral paintings - the vases in particular, reminded me of a favourite painter I had forgotten, Cape Town's Michael Pettit. Very little similarity, just wonderful association with an exhibition of his at the AVA years ago. (A painting I've never forgotten - vases balanced atop of each other and a small black doll on a field of green.)
"The People's Painter", he's all around us.


Chris said...



Karen said...

Looking forward to seeing my favourites, but will definitely avert my eyes for some of them!
Have been slow in going, peeved me that the 'people's painter' had a closed opening of SANG invited and poor tretchi's granddaughter had to uninvite the invited on facebook- typical of SANG.

Lily Turner said...

I know! and saw so many photos people had taken that night, but they stopped me after two... so be warned.

Marie said...

Funy, my eyebrows started going up, too:-)