This still life dates from a significant episode in Pieter Wenning’s professional biography. In June 1916, Wenning took a leave of absence from his job as a bookseller in Pretoria to work on a new body of paintings in Cape Town. Already an established landscape artist and member of The Individualists, a progressive grouping of Pretoria painters that included JH Pierneef, Wenning’s two-month stay in Newlands led to his decision to become a fulltime artist. He was 41. This is the only still life Wenning produced during his stay, a key transition period, which was followed by what painter Gregoire Boonzaier later characterised as a “short, tragic, yet brilliant career”.1 The political cartoonist DC Boonzaier, who assisted Wenning during his career-influencing stay, catalogued this work. He additionally observed that it was the only work Wenning produced inside his lodgings at Newlands House.2
1 Boonzaier, Gregoire. (1968) ‘Pieter Wenning’ in Our Art, Pretoria: Lantern. Page 134.
2 Scholtz, J Du P. (1973) D.C. Boonzaier en Pieter Wenning: Verslag van 'n Vriendskap, Cape Town: Tafelberg. Pages 29 and 33.
Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, Wenning Commemoration Exhibition, 1967
Scholtz, J Du P. (1973) D.C. Boonzaier en Pieter Wenning: Verslag van 'n Vriendskap, Cape Town: Tafelberg. Illustrated on page 101.