Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957) Prins Albert
Lot 18*
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef
(South African, 1886-1957)
Prins Albert
£60,000 - 90,000
US$ 98,000 - 150,000
amended

Lot Details
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957)
Prins Albert
signed 'JH Pierneef' (lower right); inscribed 'TER HERINNERING AAN OOM KLAAS / VAN PIERNEEF FEB 6 1932' (verso)
oil on board
53.5 x 64cm (21 1/16 x 25 3/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Acquired directly from the artist by Nicolaas Marais ('Klaas') Hoogenhout in 1932.
    Thence by direct descent to the present owner.


    The inscription in the bottom left hand corner of this picture reads: 'TER HERINNERING AAN OOM KLAAS, VAN PIERNEEF FEB 6 1932' ('In memory of Uncle Klaas, from Pierneef Feb 6 1932'). 'Klaas' was the nickname of Nicolaas Marais Hoogenhoot, Director of Education in the Transvaal in the late 1920s. Hoogenhout and Pierneef became friends in 1928 when he opened an exhibition of the artist's work at Polliack's music shop, Pretoria. The exhibition marked a stylistic departure for Pierneef, including a number of modernist-inspired works. The show was not a financial success; public taste was still overwhelmingly conservative. However, Hoogenhout continued to support the artist and the two were united by their common interest in Afrikaner cultural development.

    Dated 6 February 1932, three days after Hoogenhout's death, Pierneef painted the present lot as a tribute to his friend. It depicts the mountainous region of the Namib Desert. The artist had visited the South West in 1923 on the insistence of his friends and fellow painters, Hans Aschenborn and P. Bruchhausen:

    "I have thought of you so often...driving through the desert or in the mountains in the Karibib area. We will have to make a plan to get you here."

    When Pierneef arrived he was struck by the alien beauty of the landscape and "the peculiar translucent quality of the light". The region's most famous mountain, the Brandberg or 'Fire Mountain', is so named because of the colour it acquires at sunset. The present lot depicts this phenomenon; the rocky foothills glow purple in the fading light. Pierneef most likely selected this subject for its aesthetic qualities. However, the symbolism of the sunset makes it a fitting tribute to his friend at the end of his life.

    Bibliography
    P.G. Nel (ed.), JH Pierneef: His life and his work Cape Town, 1990, pp.60-74.

Saleroom notices

  • This lot is inscibed '...buite...en Prins Albert' (verso) and likely depicts a view in the Swartberg mountains and not the Brandberg as discussed in the catalogue footnote. It was painted in the same year Pierneef completed his commission for the Johannesburg station panels, which include two other views in the Swartberg: 'Meiringspoort C.P.' and the 'Swartberg Pass'. IMPORTANT NOTICE The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) has declared this lot a work of national importance and has declined a permit for its export. Therefore it is not subject to VAT on either the hammer price or the buyer's premium. The lot is available for viewing at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg. Payment for this lot may be made in Sterling in London or in South African Rand through our Johannesburg office using the published rate of exchange on the date of the auction. Collection must be made through our Johannesburg office. Please contact the department for further information.
Auction information

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Contacts
  1. Elizabeth Callinicos
    Specialist - South African Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8216
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5839
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