Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957) Bushveld

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Lot 1*
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef
(South African, 1886-1957)
Bushveld

Sold for £ 23,750 (US$ 30,738) inc. premium
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957)
Bushveld
signed and dated 'J.H. Pierneef. 43.' (lower left)
oil on canvas laid to board
38.5 x 46.5cm (15 3/16 x 18 5/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Purchased at Sotheby's, Johannesburg, in the mid 1980s.
    By direct descent to current owner.


    The flora of the Bushveld is one of Pierneef's most beloved subjects. He returned to the theme repeatedly over the course of his career. The landscape offered the artist a plethora of interesting forms - the angular branches of the camel thorn, the monumental girth of the baobab trunk, the grasses and towering termite hills.

    This composition was executed in 1943, when the artist was at the height of his career. In the late 1930s, he had received a number of high profile public commissions including two paintings for the new magistrate's court in Johannesburg. An exhibition of his work at the new city hall of Pretoria received universally positive reviews in 1938. One of the foremost art critics of the day, A.C. Bouman, was moved to comment on Pierneef's mastery of the South African landscape:

    "Through perfectly executed architectonic structure, according to geometric design, the trees and mountains take their place as if in the framework of a church. But understand this: the structure, the pattern is not preconceived, rather, the painter's organizing genius has grasped the landscape so thoroughly that its inner pattern has emerged." (Zuid-Afrikaanse kunst, Die Fakkel 1 (9-12), July-December 1941, p.976)

    In 1942, Pierneef held an exhibition at the Lidchi Art Gallery in Johannesburg that was specifically devoted to the theme of the Bushveld. It was well reviewed in the local press. A painting titled Patriarchs of the Bushveld received particular attention. "This is a picture one could walk into and explore", wrote one journalist, "it is the Bushveld".

    Bibliography
    P.G. Nel, JH Pierneef: His life and his work, (Cape Town, 1990), pp.91-94.
Contacts
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (South African, 1886-1957) Bushveld
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