The willow tree was the dominant motif of Pierneef’s early career. Whether captured in gouache, goldleaf or in a linoleum plate, the artist delighted in the tree’s decorative qualities. That they were so ubiquitous on the outskirts of Pienaarsrivier was one of the many reasons the artist so enjoyed camping and painting in the area. The present lot focuses on three specimens caught in winter light. Heavy garlands of orange and gold leaves weigh down the branches, and seem to hang quite still among the higher-reaching grass tips. A dusky purple runs across the horizon, while the blue of a cloudless sky creates a beautiful, haphazard pattern between the branches. A hint of spring is in the air: in the distance a recovering firebreak is suggested by dashes of emerald green and malachite.
Stephan Welz & Co in Association with Sotheby's, Johannesburg, 30 November 1993, lot 536.
cf. PG Nel (1990) J H Pierneef: His Life and His Work. Cape Town: Perskor. A similar example is illustrated in colour on page 10.