Following the record-breaking R1 559 600 achieved for a Hugo Naudé on Strauss & Co’s Johannesburg sale in November 2011, a number of brilliant paintings by the artist have emerged, tracing his travels and interests that ranged from South Africa to the Holy Land. Foremost amongst these are paintings from the Krone collection, the family who pioneered brandy distillation and wine making on one of the oldest family-owned wine estates in South Africa, Twee Jonge Gezellen, dating back to 1710.
Son of a farming family in Worcester, the budding artist’s talent was recognised by Olive Schreiner who helped him to gain admission to the prestigious Slade School in London, where he obtained a thorough grounding in art before going on to the Kunst Akademie in Munich to specialise in portraiture.
However, it was the experience of spending the following year – 1895 – painting with members of the Barbizon Group in the Fontainebleau Forest outside Paris that was to have the most profound influence on the development of his characteristic and much-loved landscapes. Artists such as Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Jean-François Millet were seminal in the development from Romanticism to Impressionism in that they turned away from heroic images, favouring natural scenes as their subjects rather than merely as backdrops to dramatic events.
Like them, Naudé was inspired to paint directly from nature. And it is this practice that gives his best paintings their authenticity and freshness. The majestic mountains articulated by sunlight and shade, the bright river banks and cool flowing water framed by elegant trees not only attest to Naudé’s acute powers of observation but also confirm his great skill as a painter of vivid and pleasing compositions.
A gift from the artist to his godson, Gerhard Krone, and thence by descent