Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff (South African, 1913-2006)
'Journey's End' signed 'TRETCHIKOFF' (lower right) oil on canvas 79 x 73.7cm (31 1/8 x 29in).
PROVENANCE Acquired by Mr McCay from the artist by circa 1950 Thence by descent to the current owner
EXHIBITED Cape Town, Garlick's, circa 1950 Johannesburg, John Orr's, circa 1950
Journey's End is laden with symbolism and a depth of acute detail that is typical of a Tretchikoff painting. The picture originally depicted a dustbin, a pair of workman's boots and a fallen orchid. Such items were chosen to amplify the feeling behind the picture that all elements, be they of luxury; the orchid, or poverty; the workman's boots, are mortal, and that all glories fade. For richer or poorer we all end up the same at Journey's End meeting death, the Great Leveller.
After Tretchikoff sold Journey's End in the 1950s, the new owner swiftly loaned the picture back to him for a year, where he presented Journey's End in sell out exhibitions at Garlick's, Cape Town and John Orr's, Johannesburg. These were his first exhibitions to occur in South Africa in ten years.
Tretchikoff returned Journey's End just over a year later with the unexpected addition of a string of pearls, a bottle and a newspaper, much to the chagrin of the owner. Tempers flared when Tretchikoff was adamant the picture was his property to edit as he wished since he created it. Whereas the owner felt as he had paid money for it, it was his piece to be left alone in the state in which he had bought it! Ironically, Tretchikoff claims when the very first sale of the painting was discussed, he refused to make the addition to Journey's End of a single droplet of water as requested by the buyer. He believed by altering the painting to satisfy a customer would diminish his integrity as an artist. The original letter written by Tretchikoff requesting the owner's permission to make these additions is included with this lot.
BIBLIOGRAPHY V. Tretchikoff and A. Hocking, Pigeon's Luck, (London, 1973), illustrated H. Timmins, Tretchikoff, (London, 1969), illustrated