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Walter Battiss

Walter Battiss

Walter Whall Battiss (6 January 1906 – 20 August 1982) was a South African artist, who is generally considered to be the foremost South African abstract painter and known as the creator of the quirky "Fook Island" concept. Born into English Methodist family in the Karoo town of Somerset East, Battiss first became interested in archaeology and primitive art as a young boy after moving to Koffiefontein in 1917. In 1919 the Battiss family settled in Fauresmith where he completed his education, matriculating in 1923. In 1924 he became a clerk in the Magistrates Court in Rustenburg. His formal art studies started in 1929 at the Witwatersrand Technical College (drawing and painting), followed by the Johannesburg Training College (a Teacher’s Diploma) and etching lessons. Battiss continued his studies while working as a magistrate’s clerk, and finally obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at University of South Africa at the age of 35.

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