Sunday, June 29, 2008


This picture by South African artist Marlene Dumas (photo) (b.1953) titled The Visitor is a medium oil on canvas measuring 70.9 x 118.1 in. (180 x 300 cm.) and was executed in 1995.

Dumas studied at the University of Cape Town from 1972 to 1975 and moved to the Netherlands on a scholarship when she was 23.

She's been living in Amsterdam for many years. She often uses reference material of polaroid photographs of her friends and
lovers, whilst she also references magazines and pornographic material. Dumas also paints portraits of children and erotic scenes to impact the world of contemporary art ; she can be considered one of the most renowned contemporary figurative artists. The South African artist has had an extraordinary career, impressed on the search for important and provocative questions concerning sexuality, violence, race, religion, obsession and oppression.

Dumas is one of the most highly quoted living artists in the whole world. “(Mis)Using your wounds”, a provocative watercolour of male nude taken from a pornographic source, in November 1999 was sold at Christie’s New York for 4,600,000 dollars, against an initial estimate between 3 and 4 million dollars.

“The Visitor” from a valuation of 800,000-1,200,000 pounds was sold in June 2008 by Sotheby’s London for 3.17 million GBP, ($4.75 million) making it the most expensive work by a living woman. Her work, the first of its scale to be mounted in the United States, is currently exhibited by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in association with The Museum of Modern Art until February 2009.

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