Evening Sale

Live Virtual Auction, 28 May 2024

Evening Sale

Sold for

ZAR 750 913
Lot 129
  • Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Anthill at Dusk
  • Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Anthill at Dusk
  • Jacob Hendrik Pierneef; Anthill at Dusk

Lot Estimate
ZAR 700 000 - 900 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 750 913

About this Item

South African 1886-1957
Anthill at Dusk


oil on canvas
45 by 55cm excluding frame; 65,5 by 76 by 6cm including frame


In 1921, while exhibiting in Stellenbosch, Pierneef became intrigued by the then South West Africa (now Namibia). Descriptions of the landscape from his friends Hans Aschenborn and Toon van den Heever evoked unbroken horizons, dry air, flawless skies, subtly patterned deserts, and lonely mountains suffused with violet and pink light. After some planning over the following months, Pierneef arrived in South West Africa late in April 1923. Exhilarated by the light, contours, colours, expanse and solitude of the country he found, he travelled tirelessly, drawing and painting at every stop.

The sketches Pierneef made during this first visit to South West Africa served as inspiration for numerous paintings back in Pretoria, while others were worked into designs for linocuts. It seems that one motif from the landscape was particularly memorable for Pierneef: a two-towered anthill in the dusty red veld, with trees and branches emerging from its crumbling walls, made a lasting impression. While the artist caught this emotive vignette on paper as early as 23 June 1923, and thereafter in linocut form, he reimagined it spectacularly and on a dramatic scale in the present lot. Relying on an overall tone of lilacgrey, Pierneef conjured a fleeting, golden moment before sunset, with electric orange highlights running up the branches of the trees, and shadows falling, trellis-like, on the warm earth.

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