Live Auction, 23 May 2016

Sold for

R 1 079 960
Lot 259
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Umbrella Thorn

Lot Estimate
R 800 000 - 1 200 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
R 1 079 960

About this Item

South African 1886-1957
Umbrella Thorn
signed and indistinctly dated
oil on hessian
50 by 75cm excluding frame


The recent and long-overdue Pierneef retrospective at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg, which drew works from many of the country’s most important private collections and public institutions, showcased the range of the artist’s technique and style. The variable textures of his surfaces, and the different ways in which he manipulated paint, whether oil or casein, were particularly evident, and relied to some extent on his chosen support medium. Compressed board, for instance, lent itself to the mirage-like effect the artist created on the horizon of Sonsondergang, Lichtenburg, while primed panel gave extra brilliance to the glinting hulls, waves and roof tiles of his Zanzibari harbour scenes. Similarly, the more restful landscapes on show, with their breezeless savannahs, dusty plains, high clouds and isolated acacias often benefited from coarser canvases or open-weave hessian. The medium was certainly well-suited to the current lot, Umbrella Thorn, in the way in which it complemented the dry, sun-touched earth and the warm shadows of the bushveld at dusk. The motifs are so typically Pierneef’s, but made more exceptional by the unusual, graded yellows and the streaks of violet on the horizon.

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