Welz, Jean (1900 – 1975)

Jean Welz was born in Salzburg, Austria in 1900 and died in Cape Town in 1975.

Jean Welz originally trained as an architect in Vienna, and spent the years between 1925 – 1935 working
in Paris alongside architects like Le Corbusier and Adolf Loos. During the depression between the 2
world wars, Welz immigrated to South Africa where he practiced as an architect until 1941.

After contracting Tuberculosis, he and his family moved to the dry climate of the Karoo for his
recuperation. Here he concentrated on painting and before long became an active exhibitor in the Cape.
Welz’s drawing skills and experience at the fountainhead of modern art in Paris appear to have carried
him quickly to a level of skilled sophistication in his paintings.

Welz’s approach to his art is best reflected in a letter he had written to his brother, a gallery owner in
Salzburg, before a 1965 exhibition. He explained that his paintings were “documents of his soul” and
said that his objective was to create “painterly poems”.


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