Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef: Father of South African Style

There was a painter born in Pretoria, South Africa of whom most of us know very little. Yet his paintings are auctioned at very high values by those familiar with his works. His name? Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) 


He came to my attention when the collection of Microsoft's co-founder, Paul G. Allen, was being auctioned after his death. The painting that Allen had was a stunner in the breadth, coloration, and drama of the landscape.


Pierneef was of Dutch ancestry. In the 1900s, with the Boer vs. English war, his family decided to return to their roots in the Netherlands. It was there that he took art classes and by the time he returned to Pretoria at 18, was an established artist in painting, linocuts, and etching.


In the years that followed, Pierneff studied South African art and evolved his own style. With the failing health of his wife, he applied himself even more to lecturing and exhibiting for the sake of providing. His efforts paid off handsomely. 



He was commissioned for a 3-year contract to paint the 28 panels of the Johannesburg Train Station, followed by 7 murals in the South African House in London and successful exhibits in several cities and countries.



Oh, and Christie's auction sale price for the one Paul G. Allen owned? Almost $300,000! 

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