Cape Town Office
While Pierneef sketched endlessly in the veld, the studies he made more often than not served as aide-mémoires for later, carefully-conceived, idealised studio pictures. Evidence of this process might be recognised in the comparison of the present lot, this exquisite, varied and intricate casein, to another of the artist’s slightly later benchmark examples, Extensive Landscape, Lydenburg, Northern Drakensberg Beyond, sold at Strauss & Co, Johannesburg, 20 May 2013, lot 234. Even at a glance the compositions are remarkably similar: hillsides slope gently inwards and intersect centrally; the foreground is punctuated with the indigenous trees, shrubs and rock formations with which the artist was so familiar; and the landscape endlessly unfolds under a wide sky. That both pictures remain so unique while relying on the same valley viewpoint suggests the power of the artist’s imagination when back in the studio. The comparison also makes clear just how the artist could re-use successful designs in new contexts, while always providing such a convincing sense of place.