6th Mar, 2024 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

Lot 43


Georgina Gratrix (South Africa 1982-)
An Offering

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 2019
Signature details: signed and dated on the reverse
Exhibited: artemonte-carlo, Monte-Carlo, Solo Presentation (SMAC Booth), 25 to 28 April 2019.

Sold for R603,000
Estimated at R600,000 - R800,000


oil on canvas

Artwork date: 2019
Signature details: signed and dated on the reverse
Exhibited: artemonte-carlo, Monte-Carlo, Solo Presentation (SMAC Booth), 25 to 28 April 2019.


190 x 120 cm; framed size: 195 x 125 x 6 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.

SMAC Gallery, Cape Town.


Bold, electrifying, and bursting with expression and energy, Georgina Gratrix's densely painted canvases defy conventional boundaries of artistic representation with sensational flair and dramatic intensity. Incorporating themes that delve into the everyday kitsch, the gaudy, and the mundanely banal, she fervently engages with paint, continuously exploring and pushing the limits of its physical properties.

An Offering is a sensuous painting that commands attention due to its impressive size and the rich layers of vivid colours. Painted in 2019 for inclusion in her solo presentation in Monte Carlo that same year, Gratrix cleverly combines her two favourite genres; still life and portraiture to create a charming picture of reverence and adoration. Unlike her cheeky caricature-like portraits where she delights in distorting shapes and dismembering form, here she obscures the individuality of the subject behind a monumental and dramatic bouquet. Who is this shy girl hiding behind the flowers? Could this be a self-portrait?

The paint is thick and generously applied – intuitively layered and in some areas directly from the tube – to create a textured impasto surface. Gratrix explains that her work is primarily about understanding painting. “It’s about materiality but also, I think, in its most basic form, it’s still lifes and portraiture and using them as frameworks to understand my frame of reference, whether it’s very personal or a broader worldview. It’s using these frameworks to find an aesthetically pleasing way to understand my own world.”[1]

Despite the playful facade of Gratrix’s paintings, she often subtly critiques, or hints at a more cynical perspective of art history and its canon, consumer and popular culture as well as the boundaries between desirability and the grotesque.

‘An Offering’ typically refers to something given or presented as a gift, tribute, or gesture of goodwill, usually made to show appreciation, seek favour, or fulfil a ritual or tradition. Is Gratrix perhaps offering a vivid portrayal of what it means to be a contemporary woman painter in today’s milieu?

Marelize van Zyl

[1] [Online] Lifestyling, Georgina Gratrix, painting the now, written by Sarah Jayne Fell, 1 April 2021 [Available at: https://lifestyling.co.za/culture/2021/04/georgina-gratrix-painting-the-now/]


The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably, Collection Leridon, Paris; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Missoni Collection, Milan; Ellerman House Collection, Cape Town and the Spier Art Collection, Stellenbosch.

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