JH Pierneef: Close to Home

Live Virtual Auction, 25 July 2023

JH Pierneef: Close to Home

Sold for

ZAR 577 625
Lot 19
  • Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Landscape, Eastern Free State
  • Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Landscape, Eastern Free State
  • Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Landscape, Eastern Free State

Lot Estimate
ZAR 550 000 - 650 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 577 625

About this Item

South African 1886-1957
Landscape, Eastern Free State

signed and dated 26; inscribed with the artist's name, the date, the title and medium on a label adhered to the reverse

casein on paper laid down on board
21 by 28,5cm excluding frame; 44,5 by 51,5 by 8,5cm including frame


Pierneef first visited the Free State in 1917, delivering a lecture in Bloemfontein for members of Onze Taal. He would return frequently in the subsequent decades, drawn by the golden grasslands in the winter, the lonely farmhouses, the immensity of the mountains, and the curiously eroding ridges and cliffs. One such formation, the Sfinksberg, so-called after the ancient landmark at Giza, was of particular interest to the artist. This unusually shaped outcrop, near Fouriesburg on the northern boundary of the then Basutoland, allowed him to play with scale and emphasise the sublime in nature. The present view is a fine example, with the towering landmass looming over a neat farmstead. Painted with casein, the chalky and quick-drying medium, the work is also a detonation of colour. The surface, covered with short and decisive strokes, shimmers incessantly: picked out by flashes of electric green are the summertime willows, silvery purple defines the shadowy crags, and a warm glow lights up the walls and thatch. This imaginative palette, perhaps borrowed from the Nabis or Fauves, no doubt had much to do with his return from Europe early in 1926.

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