I took a spin to Camps Bay to look at Rose Korber‘s annual Summer Salon, an event that has been on the Cape Town art calender for the past 19 years. At Rose’s fine Camps Bay home you’ll see works by some of our trusty old campaigners (Kentridge, Nhlengethwa, Hodgins, Bell) as well as some newer kids on the block. I admit to a certain bias in favour of my guitar compadre Richard Smith, his quadrangle of works had a certain authority:

Smith interrupted by Willie Bester

The walls are packed with work, and if you’re looking for the crisp clean lines of the modern gallery, this isn’t it. What you find here are unexpected gems, and a mix of new and older work: A set of six Hanneke Benadé pastels, a 1997 Simon Stone, a fine little Debbie Bell lithograph. The Prime Minister of South African art was also strongly represented: sets of “Nose” etchings and a very fine set of new “West Coast” etchings.

Detail, Simon Stone "sinkers"

From Mr Stone’s obsessive sinker – painting days. The thing about these paintings for me is the crazed commitment to the act of observation where the painter sets out to prove the idea that painting can transform the most mundane of things. And succeeds.

"Skinner" - Hanneke Benadé

I can never stop myself going up close to look at Benadé’s pastels. They’re so bloody immaculate! With a medium that lends itself to bright saturated hues (brilliantly used by Zwelethu Mtethwa), Benadé has moved over the years to making rich, meditative works that seem close to Seventeenth Century Dutch painting. In the stairwell there were some oils by Colbert Mashile, a young and promising painter of enigmas whom I like.

By the way, Rose told me that sales could have been better. What’s going on here, all you investment bankers? The days of stock markets are over – your money will probably outperform in art – and it’ll be a lot safer! Koop kuns mense!

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