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Anti-apartheid art work: Sandy bay Painting Set for Record Price at Auction.

Article by The Citizen, 07 October 2016

Out of sight for nearly 50 years, Peter Clarke’s painting “Sandy Bay”, reflecting local Capetonians who spotted a chance to thumb their noses at apartheid during the 1960’s, makes its first public appearance at the Stephan Welz & Co auction on October 18 and 19.

Painted in 1969, the artwork represents Clarke’s stylistic ouvre, along with his anti-apartheid stance.

Sandy Bay is a large-scale work measuring 45-by-60cm.

Stephan Welz & Co estimates it will fetch between R 900,000 to R 1.5million, which would be a record auction price for the artist, though some of his paintings have attracted prices around the R1.5million mark in private sales.

“It is monumental in medium size, subject matter and style,” says Gary Shean from Stephan Welz & Co.

“The word ‘ iconic’ is so voer used, but this is truly an iconic work.”

The oil-and-sand-on-board painting, presented by Clarke to a close friend as a wedding gift in the early 1970’s, was subsequently sold to its current owner and has never been exhibited or viewed by the public.

Signed and dated in November 1969, the location of the painting was unknown until the artist’s brother, Richard Clarke, recently identified the spot.

“Definitely Sandy Bay,” he exclaimed, referring to the infamous secluded nudist beach in Cape Town.

The symbolism in the painting – only one of two oil-and-sand-on-board works by Clarke – could then be appreciated.

With beaches strictly segregated during the apartheid era, Sandy Bay was only accessible by a long, narrow footpath and seldom patrolled by police enforcing apartheid by-laws.

Clarke recalls in Stephan Welz & Co’s notes on the painting that many coloured people ventured to Sandy Bay to freely express themselves without the threat of arrest.

In the painting, Peter Clarke depicts four people of colour, one looking out toward a boat at sea and three sunbathing at ease on the beach.

Sandy Bay is one of a handful of Peter Clarke works on auction by Stephan Welz & Co in Cape Town, where they will share pride of place with a painting by rapidly rising start Nelson Makamo.

Works by Clark, who passed away in Cape Town in 2014 at the age of 85, have steadily increased in value since his Ruined Houses at Simon’s Town was sold by Stephan Welz & Co for R 504,000 in 2012

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