Robin Anderson (Kenyan, 1924–2012)
Untitled (Women’s Market), circa 1968–70
Signed ‘RobinA’ (lower right)
Oil on canvas
94.5 x 152 cm
Sold Ksh 1,408,800
Provenance: private collection of Helen and John Pavlidis
Robin Anderson became well-known in Kenya in the 1960s for her hand-printed, silk batiks – a technique that she developed herself. She was a forerunner of what became a burgeoning Batik industry in East Africa. What is much less known is her proficiency at large-scale oil painting and this work is an extremely rare and stunning example of this. Her subject matter, of elegant figures and wildlife scenes, is said to be influenced by travelling around Africa with her father as a child.
Anderson studied Art in London, at Heatherleys Art School, but soon returned to Kenya where she co-founded Gallery Watatu in 1968 with artists Yony Waite and David Hart. Her works were exhibited in London at the Commonwealth Institute and at the Sorsbie Gallery, New Stanley Gallery and Gallery Watatu in Nairobi.
This painting is a very special find and was acquired by the owners directly from the artist in the early 1960s. It is of a scale and painterly quality that is rarely found in Kenya, and is more reminiscent of modern artists from Nigeria or Ethiopia during this period. Known by the previous owners as Women’s Market, it is a classic and timeless scene of woman at work and manages to express both energy, stillness and peaceful accord between the subjects.
There are some signs of wear at the edges of the canvas in the form of craquelure as this is an old oil painting, although this does not affect the beauty of the painting.