Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957) Malutis, Basutoland

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Lot 12
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef
(South African, 1886-1957)
Malutis, Basutoland

Sold for £ 43,750 (US$ 57,006) inc. premium
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957)
Malutis, Basutoland
signed 'J.H.Pierneef' (lower right)
oil on board
54 x 66.5cm (21 1/4 x 26 3/16in).

Footnotes

  • Pierneef depicted the Malutis mountains numerous times over the course of his career. The current lot is a preliminary painting for his most celebrated series, the twenty-eight panels commissioned for the interior of the Johannesburg Station between 1929 and 1932. The panels are widely regarded as the pinnacle of Pierneef's career. They were unveiled in 1932 to much acclaim, and secured the artist's reputation as South Africa's foremost landscape painter. A contemporary described the importance of the panels:

    "(Pierneef) is teaching us to see, understand and to appreciate the rolling miles of veld with the blue mountains in the distance, the strange almost fantastic trees that dot the landscape of our own land" (T. Roos).

    The muted pastel colours and light effects lend this rendition of the Malutis a spiritual quality; the mountains are majestic, timeless, ethereal. He had a deep affinity with the natural world, and firmly believed that by celebrating natural beauty, he could awaken a greater cultural appreciation in the South African people.

    It was primarily for this reason that Pierneef was selected to paint the Station panels. The brief of the commission stated that the landscapes depicted must have natural beauty as well as historical significance.

    The composition of the current lot reveals a fundamental aspect of Pierneef's art: his love of order and tranquility. The vertical lines of the mountain face are balanced by the horizontal cloud formation. The central cloud is flanked by two billowing formations that provide the work with a natural frame. The view's eye is drawn to the lilac-coloured mountains at the centre through the artist's use of diagonal lines.

    Bibliography
    N.J. Coetzee, JH Pierneef: The Station Panels, Rupert Museum exhibition catalogue, (Stellenbosch, 2010), pp.17-27.
    W. van Rensburg ed., A space for landscape: the work of JH Pierneef, Standard Bank exhibition catalogue, (Johannesburg, 2015).
    P.G. Nel, J.H. Pierneef: His Life and work, (Cape Town, 1990), pp.84-85.
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All sold lots marked TP will be removed to Cadogan Tate from 9am Thursday 23 March 2017 & will be available for collection from 12pm Friday 24 March 2017. Storage will be free of charge for the first 14 calendar days from & including the sale date Wednesday 22 March 2017. Charges will apply from 9am Wednesday 5 April 2017. Full details can be found in the catalog.