Lots 492 and 505
Robert Gwelo Goodman, seen by many as South Africa’s leading landscape artist, bought Newlands house in 1920 for him and his wife Margaret to live in. He proceeded to show his unerring capacity for architectural adaptation and filled the house with the beautiful furniture that he collected in England. There were no curtains to detract from the severe simplicity of the tall, many paned windows, having beautiful vistas of the gardens from all rooms.
He loved his Newlands garden and would potter about in it for hours, often at 6am in his dressing gown. It was the flower garden however, that rejoiced Gwelo’s heart. He revelled in masses of colour – the pink of a border of petunias, the strong reds and yellows of a bed of cannas or a group of perennial phlox. His first flower study was exhibited in 1918, and from then on he painted flowers of all kinds, still lifes and a great number of rose pictures until he died. Lot 506, a beautiful example of his work, is a showcase of all his loves: his home, his garden, his flowers and colour. A Mr Stevens, dear friend of the artist, wrote in his obituary tribute on Gwelo’s death in 1939: “There glowed in Gwelo Goodman an arbitrary passion for the things he loved. For those things he would fight from the top of his hat. He painted flowers, but he made a garden. To walk with Gwelo in that serene close, under the great cork tree, was to become part of a richer, older time. The flowers stood at attention as he passed. They were his battalions, if he took the road to war, one felt that they would march with him.”