Alexis Preller was a Pretoria born artist whose work played a definitive role in the South African art scene during the mid 1900s. He is remembered for his brilliant imagination and artistic genius. Many remember him for being somewhat different; to say the least. As his career progressed, so did his popularity and he is now remembered as a massive kingpin on the South African art scene.
Born in South Africa in 1911, Preller worked as a clerk before pursuing formal education at the Westminster School of Art in England. After graduating in 1934 he moved on to the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, where he graduated 3 years later. Vincent van Gogh and Piero della Francesca, along with numerous visits to European museums and galleries, were the major influencers of this artistic genius. A few critics even labelled him as South Africa’s very own Paul Ganguin.
Preller’s style evolved into something rather unique, isolating him from the artistic movement of the 20th century, A style not common to traditional old school movement. Although he was always highly regarded in his home town of Pretoria, his following spread to the Cape in the 1960s as a result of an exhibition of his works in the Mother City.
His works are characterised by absolute precision, sound structural composition and a testament of a perfectly balanced palette. This is what makes Alexis Preller not only unique, but an artistic genius, who was way ahead of his time.