van der Merwe, Eben

Eben van der Merwe was born in Bloemfontein in 1932. A self-taught painter of landscapes,

portraits, figures, still life and abstract pictures. His early work showed influence of Gregoire

Boonzaier. He later moved toward non-figurative composition, rendered his scene in dark, rich

colours, broken into segments in the manner of stained-glass. In 1958 a founder member of the

Bloemfontein Group. Moved to Johannesburg in 1961, where he worked as a typographer, a

visualiser and a designer in advertising agencies, and as art director for the magazine section of

Argus Group until 1970. Since 1976 a full-time artist, concentrating on painting and the design and

construction of Dalle-de-Verre windows. 1966 travelled to the UK and Europe to study the design and

construction of slab-glass windows. 1976 made a study tour of the UK and Europe.

The intensity of Van der Merwe’s colour is a distinctive feature of his style: the use, particularly,

greens and the counterpoint of vibrant red is not common in SA Painting.

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