Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957) The Camp of Anton van Wouw, pencil
Lot 310
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957) Camp with Anton van Wouw, Roodeplaats
£6,000 - 9,000
US$ 10,000 - 15,000
amended
Lot Details
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957)
Camp with Anton van Wouw, Roodeplaats
bears inscription 'certified original drawing/Camp with Anton Van Wouw/by J.H. Pierneef 1920/ M.F. Pierneef' (verso)
pencil
35.5 x 44.5cm (14 x 17 1/2in).

Footnotes

  • Godfather, tutor, mentor and friend: the sculptor Anton van Wouw was many things to the painter J.H. Pierneef. In his early years as an artist, Pierneef trained at Van Wouw's studio in Pretoria, where the older artist instilled in him the techniques and importance of drawing underpinning all forms of art. Van Wouw shared the studio with Frans Oerder, and Pieter Wenning visited frequently: the four often worked together at the studio, providing a stimulating intellectual and aesthetic climate for Pierneef's development as an artist.

    Pierneef often remarked on how much he had learnt from Van Wouw, not only in the studio but also out in the veld, where the two would go camping. They shared a deep love of nature, and their time spent sketching and painting in the Highveld plateau and bushveld areas of the Transvaal no doubt strongly informed Pierneef's aesthetic sensibility. In this evocative pencil sketch, Pierneef captures an affectionate scene from one of their many camping trips together. It is clear that they are 'at home' in the veld: outside the pitched tent, their painting coats are suspended from a tree, just hung up for the day or ready to be grasped and donned at a moment's notice. A warmly domestic vignette unfolds on the left hand side of the drawing, where Van Wouw and his wife, along with another woman wearing a hat (probably one of Van Wouw's grown daughters or perhaps Pierneef's first wife), share tea or coffee, freshly brewed on the camp stove set up beside them.

    The work closely resembles an oil painting of the same subject in a private collection. The painting, pictured here, depicts a Van Wouw family camping trip to Roodeplaats, north of Pretoria, though appears seen from a different angle to the current drawing. The present lot is a touching testament to the relationship between these two influential artists, a relationship that spanned over half a century and included twenty years of exchanging letters. At the death of Anton Van Wouw on 30 July 1945, Pierneef acknowledged Van Wouw's role in his life in a moving tribute. Echoing through his tribute were Van Wouw's strict instructions to a young Pierneef: "Young man, don't work only with your hands, use your eyes as well!" Clearly, he took these words to heart – today it is Pierneef's union of technical skill and keen observation, applied to a deep knowledge and love of the South African landscape, that continues to be remarked upon in studies of his work.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:
    P.G. Nel, JH Pierneef: His life and work, (Cape Town, 1990), p.96

Saleroom notices

  • EXHIBITED: Johannesburg, Pierneef Festival, arranged by the Egon Guenther and Adler Fielding Galleries, August 1964, illustrated
Activities
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