Walter Battiss was born in Somerset East to an English Methodist family in 1906 and died on the 20th of August 1982, in Port Shepstone. Battiss is a recognisable artist within the South African canon of art making and is the single most recognised South African abstract artist and printmaker, Battiss’ work shows a connection to archaeology and primitive art forms as a young boy in Koffiefontein. He was very interested in San paintings and primitive rock art. He was formally educated at the Wits Tech Art School, for drawing and painting.
In 1941 Battiss finally obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at UNISA.In 1938 Skotnes took his first trip to Europe, and in 1939 he published his first book, The Amazing Bushman’.Battiss published nine books, wrote many articles and founded the periodical De Arte. He taught Pretoria Boys’ High School students for 30 years at the Pretoria Art Centre, of which was the principle from 1953-58.He also taught at Unisa where he became Professor of Fine Art in 1964 and retired in 1971. Walter Battiss passed away in Port Shepstone, Natal in 1982.