J.H Pierneef

Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef.

Widely considered to be one of the best old South African masters. He had a distinctive style, which made him one of the nation’s most recognisable artists and notably influenced by the diverse landscape on offer.

Born and schooled in Pretoria. The Pierneefs moved back to the Netherlands as a result of the Boer War – round two. He was a mere teenager at the time. The Rotterdamse Kunstakademie would become his new home, if it were. This became his meeting place. The works of the old masters left a big impression on him.

It was not long before he made his way back to South Africa. He was eighteen. Meetings with the Anton van Wouws, Hugo Naudes and Frans Oerders of the time inspired him. The former was also his godfather.  George Smithard  taught him the intricacies of graphic mediums like etching and linocuts.

He held his first exhibition with van Wouw and Naude in 1902. A success it was. The young Pierneef went on to work at the State Library during the night and  worked in his own studio during the day. As he established himself as a premier South Africa artist, people had to wait their turn in order to have the name, ‘J.H Pierneef ‘at the bottom of their masterpiece. In 1929 he was commissioned to do the inside of the Johannesburg Station building. He did this so well that he was asked to do the South Africa house in London was next on his list.

Jacobus Hendrik proved himself as one of the nation’s premier artists; going about his business in his own unique way and writing his name in South Africa’s history books with much style.

image credit: af.wikipedia.org