A view in the Stellenbosch Valley, with Simonsberg and the Hottentots Holland beyond signed and dated 'J.H. Pierneef.50.' (lower left) oil on board 46.7 x 60.8cm (18 3/8 x 23 15/16in).
PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the artist Thence by direct descent to the current owner
Better known for its exquisite wine, parts of the Stellenbosch Valley were planted with tobacco and wheat during the 1950s. In this image, a combination of crops provide a pastel-hued patchwork for Pierneef's A view in the Stellenbosch Valley, with Simonsberg and the Hottentots Holland beyond. The interlocking planes of colour almost register as a topographical blueprint, a scene which undoubtedly appealed to Pierneef's strong sense of draughtsmanship, and fascination with the great "play of lines" in nature. Beyond the fields, the blue-hued Simonsberg and Hottentots Holland mountain ranges less starkly-rendered than those of much of Pierneef's earlier work add to the sense of vastness in the image. An atmosphere of peace and orderliness pervades the scene, undisturbed by any signs of human presence or activity.
Though predominantly a Transvaal painter, Pierneef's rarer images of the Cape have become increasingly popular. He became enamoured with the Cape after exhibiting in Stellenbosch in 1921, and continued to make further visits, sketching the area and visiting his friend (and later biographer) J.F.W. Grosskopf. Pierneef was particularly inspired by the Cape landscape, its dark mountains, green trees and Cape Dutch architecture providing new visual stimuli. The Stellenbosch area features in many of Pierneef's linocuts, as well as his Johannesburg Station Panel series, and a very similar composition, Simonsberg, was sold at Christie's London, 17 September 1999, lot 141.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.F.W. Grosskopf, Hendrik Pierneef: The Man and his Work, (Cape Town, 1947), p.15