Live Auction, 23 May 2016

Sold for

R 1 818 880
Lot 242
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Winter Bosveld

Lot Estimate
R 800 000 - 1 200 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
R 1 818 880

About this Item

South African 1886-1957
Winter Bosveld
signed; inscribed with the title in another hand on the reverse
oil on board
44 by 59cm excluding frame

Notes

Pierneef’s paintings of the bushveld remain among the most recognisable and iconic of his works. Winter Bosveld is exemplary in the way that it features Pierneef’s most definitive stylistic trademarks. In his introduction for A Space for Landscape, the recent major Pierneef exhibition at The Standard Bank Gallery, curator Wilhelm van Rensburg noted: “To heighten the scenic quality of the landscape, Pierneef made use of a raised viewpoint, and to increase the sense of depth, he often darkened the foreground and sides of the image, sometimes placing one or more trees in silhouette in the foreground to achieve a similar effect”1.

This description aptly fits the composition that Pierneef employed in Winter Bosveld. Also beautifully expressed in this work is the “visible system of order and harmony”2 that brings an almost spiritual quality to Pierneef’s compositions. In an essay in the same publication, Hayden Proud eloquently describes the trees that “repeatedly arch inwards to ‘frame’ many a distant vista in Pierneef’s landscapes”3, and the parallel lines and rhythmic quality of the composition exemplify nature perfected in the artist’s eye.  

The clarity of the scene, with its bleached sky in the background is a fine example of Pierneef’s achievement in evolving a “personal style that could express qualities unique to the atmospheric conditions of the landscape”4. It is also with the fusion of “a forward-looking modernist style”5 and a rather more romantic sense of the sublime that Pierneef heightened his dramatisation of the South African landscape, lending it a sense of national authenticity that no artist before him had achieved.

1 Van Rensburg, Wilhem (ed.) (2015) A Space for Landscape: The Work of JH Pierneef, Johannesburg: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited. Page 17.

2 Page 13.

3 Proud, Hayden in Van Rensburg, Wilhem (ed.) (2015) A Space for Landscape: The Work of JH Pierneef, Johannesburg: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited. Page 32.

4 Van Rensburg, Wilhem (ed.) (2015) A Space for Landscape: The Work of JH Pierneef, Johannesburg: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited. Page 17.

5 Proud, Hayden in Van Rensburg, Wilhem (ed.) (2015) A Space for Landscape: The Work of JH Pierneef, Johannesburg: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited. Page 33


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