Live Virtual Auction, 11 - 13 April 2021
About this Item
Findlay Farm, Magaliesberg is a striking, important work produced in a transformational period in Pierneef’s life. Shortly after his divorce from his first wife Agatha in 1924, the artist was commissioned by Mr Johan Schoeman to paint landscapes of the area surrounding Hartbeespoort Dam. He stayed at the Agnes Hotel while he painted. There, in the May of that year, he met a young woman from the Netherlands, May Schoep, who he would marry six months later. According to his friends, the new relationship released Pierneef from a ‘heavy burden’, and allowed him to paint with a new gusto and enthusiasm.1 The current lot catches the artist in this upbeat moment. The painting is an exquisite snapshot of the 1500 hectare farm owned by Mr John Findlay, one of Schoeman’s legal advisors, captured in earthy tones and with thoughtful brushstrokes. Some of the ramshackle buildings and barns that Pierneef showed in the distance were soon to be razed or renovated: Findlay erected a Cape Dutch style family home on the site in 1927 (the choice of style likely inspired by Lady Phillips’s high-profile refurbishment of Vergelegen in the early 1920s, as well as the restoration of Groot Constantia in 1926).
1. P G Nel (Ed) (1990) J H Pierneef: His Life and Work, Cape Town and Johannesburg: Perskor, page 62.