Artists

From Albert Adams to Portia Zvavahera, Strauss & Co maintains a detailed database of every artist sold at auction since 2009. Whether it is painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, ceramics or new media, this searchable database lists by artist every lot offered and provides aggregated data useful to collectors. Famous South African artists like William Kentridge, JH Pierneef, Alexis Preller and Irma Stern are introduced with helpful biographies along with the best contemporary artists.



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Pieter Wenning

South African 1873-1921 


Pieter Wenning was born and grew up in the Netherlands and developed a love of painting from an early age as his father was an art dealer and sold artist’s materials. Wenning’s art teacher at school identified the young boy’s obvious talent and became his first mentor. He introduced Wenning to the Dutch masters, and the tradition of European painting, and tried to persuade Wenning’s parents to allow him to pursue a career as an artist, but his parents discouraged him from studying art and he went to work for the national railway company instead, however painting remained his focus and he spent all his spare time painting and drawing . An offer of a job at a book dealer in South Africa brought Wenning and his family to Pretoria in 1905. After some years of frugality and careful savings, he was able to import an etching press, and pioneered the medium in this country, while also drawing incessantly and beginning to experiment with painting in oils.

With J H Pierneef and George Smithard, he was a founder member of the Individualists in 1911, a group of like-minded artists who exhibited their work together in Pretoria. Wenning was always dogged by financial problems but with the help of D C Boonzaier and several other friends who provided the funds, he spent three months in the Cape in 1917, and produced enough paintings to mount a private exhibition. His work was well-received, with almost all being sold, but the art market was depressed as a result of WWI and Wenning struggled to achieve good prices.

Esmé Berman described how Wenning ‘found himself’ as an artist in the Cape, not only because he was then painting full-time, but also because the gentler climate and “shades of dampened green” familiar from his homeland suited him better than the “elusive ochres of the Highveld”.1 The artist worked relentlessly ‘en plein air’, regardless of the weather and with little concern for his health, but nevertheless, also managed to produce a significant number of still lifes, which Berman considers as equal to, if not more important than, his landscapes. For Wenning, still lifes were essays in “colour form and composition … governed less by the influence of Dutch precedents than by the lessons gained from Oriental art”.2

Wenning died at the age of 47 of tuberculosis, but despite his relatively short career he produced over 300 paintings in addition to his drawings and etchings. When he died, he was probably the most important artist that the country had known. His work is included in the collections of the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Pretoria Art Museum, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the William Humphreys Gallery in Kimberley, and the Wits Art Museum, among others.

1. Esmé Berman (1983) Art & Artists of South Africa, Cape Town: AA Balkema, page 497.
2. Ibid, page 498.

112 lots offered      66.07% sold      ZAR 25 016 290
 

Including Premium and VAT Results include Buyer's Premium and VAT
Pieter Wenning; Near Newlands Station
19 Feb 2024
Sold for ZAR 82 075
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
Pieter Wenning; The Beach and Fort at Woodstock
19 Feb 2024
Unsold
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Pieter Wenning; Snow Landscape
27 Nov 2023
Unsold
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Pieter Wenning; Wonderboom, Pretoria
8 Nov 2023
Unsold
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Pieter Wenning; View of Lourenço Marques
7 Nov 2023
Sold for ZAR 150 000
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
Pieter Wenning; Durban
7 Nov 2023
Sold for ZAR 128 975
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
Pieter Wenning; Landscape with Farm Houses
9 Oct 2023
Sold for ZAR 175 875
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
Pieter Wenning; Kalk Bay Harbour
19 Sep 2023
Sold for ZAR 257 950
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
Pieter Wenning; Oakfields, Nuweland (Oakfields, Newlands)
19 Sep 2023
Sold for ZAR 150 000
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
Pieter Wenning; Bos, Nuweland (Bush, Newlands)
19 Sep 2023
Sold for ZAR 257 950
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
Pieter Wenning; Vase of Flowers
16 May 2023
Unsold
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Pieter Wenning; Skoolgebou Bishopscourt
16 May 2023
Sold for ZAR 519 863
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT

Results in green indicate post sales.