The Bushveld should be known as The Treeveld

Pierneef Bushveld Trees

If there is one artist who can be said to have captured the psyche of South Africans’ love of their land, it must be Pierneef. Many people who could not name you one other artist will recognise his extensive landscapes, which often add a strong Art Deco element to the self-conscious way in which he distilled the literally millions of magnificent compositions, turning painting after painting into an iconic composition; compositions I found myself snapping away at on our recent visit to the Bushveld.

43 Mainly Marula Trees

I have chosen one of the thirteen tree compositions I  set aside among the 80 best photos – 25% of the weekend’s takings – to illustrate this. There is a vast amount of info out there on Pierneef, and I include a link to photographs of his work on auction here . And just for the hell of it, I played around with a painterly effect on the above photo…

43 paint effect

One can see an Art Deco influence in the above painting. Possibly his most famous paintings move away from the impressionist- realism so beloved by South Africans and artists of his generation. Below is a very poor reproduction – the best I could find on the net – of his “Study in Blue”: the title already illustrates how far we have moved from popular realism.

Studie in Blou

We had a most wonderful time, staying in a lodge deep in the bush on which a journalist friend is doing an article; on our game drives we saw lions, leopards, a vast herd of buffalo and many other animals, besides the wonderful trees… Over the next weeks I hope to share some of this with you!



3 thoughts on “The Bushveld should be known as The Treeveld

  1. Hi, Jack! I really liked this last post about the paintings of Pierneef along with the photos of similar areas. Your link led me to a wealth of paintings by this painter, who, as far as I know, is practically unknown here in Canada. As a result, I have “pinned” several of the images onto my “Art” board on Pinterest. Thank you very much for introducing me to this wonderful artist!

  2. Thanks, Gord! Pierneef is, as far as I know, the painter who fetches the second highest prices at auction in South Africa, and the highest to date for a South African work in London of of over US$1m. However the top prices are always fetched by large, ‘typical’ works, with his average oils still under US$30000 and his pencil studies under US$2000. I need to look at Pinterest… never heard of it!

  3. Pingback: SHOW US A LEOPARD! « Sequoia Gardens Blog

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