Ending 20th Feb, 2024 18:05

Editions + Photographs

  Lot 12
Lot 12 - Roel Roelofsen (South Africa 20th Century )


Roel Roelofsen (South Africa 20th Century )
The Factory

archival ink fine art print on Hahnemühle paper

Signature details: signed and numbered 'AP' in pencil in the margin
Exhibited: Stephan Welz & Co, Johannesburg, ‘Roel Roelofsen: The Life and Works of a Forgotten Master’, 1 to 22 October 2014, an example from the edition exhibited.
Location: Cape Town

Estimated at R10,000 - R15,000


archival ink fine art print on Hahnemühle paper

Signature details: signed and numbered 'AP' in pencil in the margin
Exhibited: Stephan Welz & Co, Johannesburg, ‘Roel Roelofsen: The Life and Works of a Forgotten Master’, 1 to 22 October 2014, an example from the edition exhibited.
Location: Cape Town


sheet size: 78 x 111.5 cm; image size: 69 x 103.5 cm; framed size: 96 x 130 x 5.5 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.


Despite being crowned one of the world's most successful colour slide photographers in the 1970s, Roel Roelofsen's achievements have remained largely unknown and uncelebrated in South Africa. Born in Holland and making South Africa his home in 1960, his photographic journey began innocently, as a way of documenting the lives of his children.

Roelofsen's lens went on to capture the dynamic construction of iconic skyscrapers in South Africa, including The Carlton Hotel and Standard Bank, Johannesburg, as well as the Twin Towers during a trip to New York. His interest and appreciation for photography blossomed into a prolific career. In 1972 he was crowned the number one colour slide exhibitor by the Photographic Society of America (PSA). This made him the first non-American man in 10 years to win the award. By 1974 Roelofsen had collected over 600 salon acceptances, 56 awards, and an impressive collection of 33 gold medals, earned from prestigious exhibitions worldwide.

Before photography, the artist had worked at an American pharmaceutical firm and his experience in chemistry lent itself to his newfound talent when he began experimenting with the intricate process of producing images from negatives, ultimately developing his derivation technique.

This technique involved copying black and white negatives onto high-contrast line film, eliminating all gray shades to produce images with stark black and white contrasts. Roelofsen then masterfully arranged multiple black and white images into intricate montages. The final montage was photographed, producing a single monochrome negative.

To add colour to the negatives, Roelofsen used a technique known as 'etch-bleaching.' This intricate process involved removing emulsion from specific areas of the negative, allowing the hand-painted colours to adhere to the exposed surfaces. This process was repeated in different colours, each colour on a new negative, so the ultimate picture was the result of a montage of several layers of film.


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Auction: Editions + Photographs, ending 20th Feb, 2024

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