Cecil Edwin Frans Skotnes (South African, 1926-2009)
'The Brandberg Landscape' signed and dated 'C Skotnes 92' (lower right) oil on board 81.4 x 122cm (32 1/16 x 48 1/16in). within original artist's frame
PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the artist by the current owner
The Brandberg is a massive ravine-split hump of granite rising above the level expanse of the Namib Desert. Roughly circular at its base, it rises to 2,600 meters at its highest point.
Skotnes made a series of 'landscapes of the mind' in 1988-1992 and dedicated them to his friend Harold Pager, who spent some seven years on the mountain researching and recording the wealth of Bushman painting sites.
Other works from the Brandberg Wall Series are illustrated in Godby (1996, pp.98-104 & 189-193):
"When, in 1988, Skotnes began the Brandberg Wall series, he had not visited the region for twenty years. He went as far as the Kalahari where he made free watercolour sketches of such features as the colours of the desert and the characteristic contours of rock formations and horizon lines...In his studio, Skotnes then photographed the drawings (he had not photographed the landscape itself) and cut out forms that appealed to him. He assembled these cuttings into new compositions which he again photographed.
"The excised silhouettes and the reduced scale of the photographs provided a working vocabulary of clearly defined forms which he would move around at will...He then translated these photomontages into interim compositions in oil paint. From these sketches, and from a second series of photographs taken from them which were similarly dismembered and recomposed, Skotnes worked up to the full-scale paintings...while the evolution of the Brandberg Wall series is perhaps exceptionally complicated, it may still be taken to represent a long-standing attitude to the relationship between landscape subject and pictorial form."
BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Godby, 'Landscape into Art: A reading of the Brandberg Wall Series', in F. Harmsen (ed.), Cecil Skotnes, (Cape Town, 1996)