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Struik Lifestyle

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Haunted Landscape by Peter Clarke Put on Auction for R200 000

Listening to Distant ThunderHaunted Landscape along with a number of other works by Peter Clarke were recently auctioned at Russell Kaplan Auctioneers.

Clarke’s first Haunted Landscape painting is, according to the authors of Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke, a seminal work in art history. The collage, which reflects on the original and shares its title, was expected to fetch between R150 000 and R200 000 at the auction.

Stacey Vorster wrote an article about the collage for Art Times:

In 1975, Peter Clarke spent 9 months in Ohio, USA on a writing residency. During this time he completed a large oil triptych titled Haunted Landscape,which was littered with ominous symbols of the turbulence that was going on in his home country: a black cat atop a fence, a lonely pram, a trash can, a wheel-less bicycle, a barking dog and two white doves in a brawl, mid-air while three children make their way home. The painting is one of his most famous and interpreted works: Phillipa Hobbs and Elizabeth Rankin dedicate a whole chapter to it in his 2011 monograph titled Listening to Distant Thunder, The Art of Peter Clarke. As they argue, the artwork’s seminal place in art history is because of the prophetic quality of the haunted landscape as a “harbinger of the trauma that children would suffer in South African townships” (2011: 137). Preceding the Soweto Uprising of 1976, the painting begins to suggest the loss of innocence that the country would face during the violent clash between school children and police.

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