Cecil Edwin Frans Skotnes (South African, 1926-2009)
Abstract head incised 'C. SKOTNES' (upper right) painting on incised panel 74 x 101cm (29 1/8 x 39 3/4in).
PROVENANCE: Acquired from Johans Borman, Cape Town in 2010 by the current owner
In 1955, Skotnes began experimenting with wood engraving, a form which would develop into his unique painted wood panels. Esmé Berman refers to them as being part painting, part graphic and part sculpture (given their use of relief effects). The current lot reveals Skotnes' mastery of the technique in its "skillful interplay of line, mass and void [through which he is] able to produce an infinite variety of tones and textures which [lend] modulating colour to the dramatic contrasts of black and white".
Heads are of primary importance in Skotnes' oeuvre, and Skotnes refers to the influence of Picasso, as well as the natural forms of the landscape, in their depiction. Frieda Harmsen, in her discussion of Skotnes' ongoing exploration of the aesthetic and affective qualities of the head, suggests that they gain increasing "psychological potency that reinforces their aesthetic formality... they come to reflect all the inherent qualities of the human race. They become visualisations of the archetypes."
BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Berman, Painting in South Africa, (Pretoria, 1993), p.253 F. Harmsen, Cecil Skotnes, (Cape Town, 1996), p.27