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Pierneef’s linocuts and why you can find them on La Motte’s premium wine collection

When visiting La Motte, guests can enjoy the artwork of renowned South African artist, JH Pierneef in the La Motte Museum, but many of his lino cuts are also displayed in other areas such as the restaurant and tasting room and even on some of the wine bottles! But who was Pierneef and why did his name and art make it to the label of La Motte’s Pierneef collection of wines?

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886 – 1957) is honoured as one of South Africa’s greatest and most famous landscape artists. He is recognised as the master interpreter of the South African landscape and it was in this field that he gained the most fame. Through his technical drawing skills and extraordinary ability in line and form he was, however, also a superior graphic artist – his wood and lino cuts are regarded as being of equal importance as his paintings.

What is a lino cut?

In the nineteenth century linoleum was generally used as a floor covering. During later years, German artists used it in creating works of art based on the principal of print graphics. Using this technique, the design (matrix) is engraved on a flat surface in relief by means of specially designed cutters with various blade forms. The surface is then covered with printing-ink and the design reproduced on paper or textile.

Pierneef’s lino cuts cover a number of themes, from historic and famous buildings, farmsteads, wine cellars and landscapes, to his favourite subject, indigenous trees. He was also well-known for his portrayals of majestic cloud formations rising behind houses or mountain cliffs. Furthermore, Pierneef created lino cut designs for magazines, volumes of poetry, programmes, catalogs for his own exhibitions and various ex libris. In his approach to art, he firmly guarded against following European tendencies and styles – he was dedicated to developing his own unique style.

The lino cut collection at La Motte consists of a set of 128 prints, reproduced in a limited number after Pierneef’s death. For each of his three children the late Dr Anton Rupert bought a set, the eighth of which is the La Motte set that belongs to Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg.

A new chapter was opened with the display of these lino cuts on the back labels of La Motte’s premium wine range, the Pierneef Collection. Each new vintage is depicted by a different Pierneef lino cut. When enjoying the Pierneef Shiraz Viognier or Organically Grown Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc, please take a moment to also enjoy the special piece of art on its back label.

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