The whole of Banting's output is dominated by the theme of music and birds as antagonistic themes of decay and intimations of death. The motif of the squeeze box and birds can already be noticed in a gouache of 1946 (Squeezebox Bird) and in a watercolour of 1955 (Guitar Faces, Squeeze box and One Man Bands in Trio). Here it is built on the contrast between the geometricity and colourlessness of the face and hands, and the colourfulness and dynamism of the birds and squeezebox keyboard. To support this, the birds are made to contrast with the skeleton-like arm and fingers. It all implies that the head has to suspend its dry rationality and open itself to the life of music and colour, a process which the viewer is required to adopt and follow. This work is less pessimistic than others by Banting and shows great energy and movement.
We are grateful to Michel Remy for his assistance in cataloguing the present lot and lot 104.