Wenning, Pieter (1873 – 1921)

Pieter Wenning was born in The Hague, Holland in 1873. He was the eldest son of a Friesland family with
long artistic associations. During his school years his family relocated to Leeuwarden. Here the local art
master encouraged his drawing ability and also helped him appreciate the works of Dutch painters in a
local gallery. His parents persuaded him to avoid becoming a professional artist and he then joined the
Dutch Railways. His spare time was reserved for painting. In the year of 1902 Pieter was dismissed of his
job after going on strike with fellow employees.

In 1905 he came to South Africa and worked for De Bussy’s Bookshop in Pretoria. He continued his
interest in art and sketched in chalk and watercolours. He would also act as a translator at the Supreme
Court. In 1909 he started working with oils. In 1911 he joined the art group, the Individualists and
exhibited with them in Pretoria. He started producing etchings in 1912 after obtaining an Etching press
from Europe. In 1913 he visited Cape Town for the first time, there he met DC Boonzaier. In 1915 after
making a short trip to Cape Town to greet his returning family from Holland he also began a friendship
with Nita Spilhaus. From those years on he would regularly travel between the Transvaal and Cape Town
when he had the finances. In 1919 his wife died and his own health deteriorated as well and by 1921
he passed away in the Zuid Afrikaans Hospital in Pretoria. His work is represented in the top public and
private collections worldwide.

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