Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff (South African, 1913-2006) Self Portrait as prisoner, oil
Lot 341*
Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff (South African, 1913-2006) 'Prisoner of War'
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 28,569) inc. premium

Lot Details
Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff (South African, 1913-2006)
'Prisoner of War'
signed 'Tretchikoff' (lower right); bears exhibition label (verso)
oil on canvas
67.5 x 54.8cm (26 9/16 x 21 9/16in).

Footnotes

  • LITERATURE:
    R. Buncher, Tretchikoff, (London, 1950), an almost identical, but unsigned, work illustrated, plate 22

    In February 1942, when the Tretchikoff family were living in Singapore, Tretchikoff's wife and daughter were evacuated in advance of the imminent Japanese occupation. Tretchikoff attempted to follow later, but was captured by the Japanese on the coast of Java and held in solitary confinement for three months, having claimed rights as a Soviet national. It took some time after the end of the war to locate his family, who had since settled in South Africa: the present lot, in which the prisoner of war's mind seems to drift between the sensual memory of a woman and the glowing image of a Cape farm scene, echoes the artist's experience.

    However, the image is not strictly autobiographical. Rather, the central figure stands in for all prisoners of war, and was a sitter Tretchikoff found in South Africa. Richard Buncher explains: "It was only after knowing him for two years that Tretchikoff realized this man had just the face for which he had been searching all that time for this theme – the face that had no national peculiarities, but would stand for all prisoners-of-war. His mind is entwined with barbed wire, his throat choked with it... somewhere there is a home, a wife, in the old country..."

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:
    Richard Buncher, Tretchikoff, (London, 1950)

Saleroom notices

  • EXHIBITED: Cape Town, Iziko South African National Gallery, Thretchikoff: the people's painter, May 2011. This painting was listed in the catalogue of the artist's Cape Town exhibition of 1949 at a price of 100 guineas, and also appears in a documentary made for his American tour in 1952, in which he is shown sketching the model for the prisoner figure, Ivan Harcourt-Wood. The signature is incomplete and reads 'Tretchiko'; the final 'ff' may have been removed during cleaning.
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