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Bust of artist JH Pierneef by Fanie Eloff

Fanie Eloff (1885-1947)

JH Pierneef
1922
Bronze

Fanie Eloff het in 1922 ʼn tweede borsbeeld van sy goeie vriend, JH Pierneef, geskep. Daar is vier edisies gegiet wat in die Ditsong Nasionale Kultuur-Historiese Museum, die Johannesburgse Kunsgalery, die Iziko Nasionale Kunsgalery in Kaapstad, en die La Motte Museum voorkom. Verskeie kunskritici het opgemerk dat sommige detail in die Pierneef-borsbeelde se gips weergawes ongelukkig tydens die bronsgietproses verlore gegaan het.

Eloff is in 1885 in Pretoria gebore. Hy was die kleinseun van President Paul Kruger, en het van jongs af in invloedryke kringe beweeg. Hy het gedurende sy skooljare met Pierneef bevriend geraak, wat tot ʼn lewenslange vriendskap gelei het. Eloff is gedurende die Anglo-Boereoorlog na Switserland, waarna hy na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer het om sy skoolloopbaan voort te sit. Hy het by dr. HG Breyer gewoon, wat hom aan klassieke musiek, die skone kunste en beeldhouwerk in besonder voorgestel het. Anton van Wouw het ook gereeld besoek by die Breyer-huishouding afgelê.

Eloff het ná skool in Parys studeer, waar hy homself as beeldhouer bekwaam het. Nadat hy erkenning vir sy werk in ʼn kunskompetisie verwerf het, is Eloff uiteindelik finansieel deur sy gesin ondersteun, wat hom in staat gestel het om sonder kommersiële beperkinge te skep. Hy is in 1912 tot die vooraanstaande Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts et des Lettres toegelaat, en is daar as ʼn moderne Franse beeldhouer erken. Teen die einde van 1912 het Eloff op Pierneef se uitnodiging na Suid-Afrika gereis om aan die Individualiste se groepsuitstalling deel te neem.

Met die aanvang van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog in 1914 het Eloff na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer, waar hy voortgegaan het om historiese figure te beeldhou. In 1922 is hy terug na Parys waar hy ʼn ateljee gestig het en deel van die Paryse sosiale kringe geword het. Tydens ʼn vakansie in Suid-Afrika in 1929 het Eloff en Pierneef ʼn gesamentlike uitstalling by die Joodse Gildesaal in Johannesburg gehou. Gedurende hierdie tyd was hy die redakteur van die tydskrif Die Nuwe Brandwag. Eloff het in 1940 met die inval van Parys tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog weer na Suid-Afrika gevlug. Hy het sy vriendskap met Pierneef hervat, en hulle het in 1941 weer ʼn gesamentlike uitstalling by Pierneef se huis en ateljee, Elangeni (buite Pretoria) gehou.

Eloff is in 1945 met ʼn toekenning deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns vereer.

In 1922 Eloff created a second bust of his friend JH Pierneef (1886–1957). This bust was cast four times, and can be found in the collections of the Ditsong National Cultural History Museum, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Iziko National Art Gallery in Cape Town, and at the La Motte Museum. Several art critics noted that the Pierneef bronzes unfortunately lost the very fine detail in the casting process that was evident on the original plaster.

Eloff was born in Pretoria in 1885. He was the grandson of President Paul Kruger, and was surrounded by influential people from a young age. During his school years, he befriended Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, with whom he had a lifelong friendship.

After moving to Switzerland during the Anglo–Boer War, Eloff returned to complete his schooling in South Africa. He resided with Dr HG Breyer, who introduced him to classical music, fine art and especially sculpture. Anton van Wouw was a frequent visitor to the Breyer residence.

Eloff furthered his studies in Paris, where he started to pursue a career in sculpture. After receiving acclaim in a competition, Eloff was financially supported by his family, which enabled him to create freely without commercialising his art. In 1912 he was admitted to the prestigious Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts et des Lettres and recognised as a modern French sculptor. By the end of 1912, he travelled back to South Africa on Pierneef’s invitation to participate in the Individualists’ group exhibition.

With the outbreak of the First World War, Eloff returned to South Africa in 1914, where he continued to sculpt historical figures. In 1922, he went back to Paris where he established a studio and became part of the Parisian social scene. While on holiday in South Africa in 1929, Eloff and Pierneef held a joint exhibition at the Jewish Guild Hall in Johannesburg. During this time, he became the art editor of a new magazine, Die Nuwe Brandwag. With the invasion of Paris in 1940 during the Second World War, Eloff fled to South Africa. He rekindled his friendship with Pierneef and they held another joint exhibition in 1941 at Elangeni, Pierneef’s home and studio outside of Pretoria.

In 1945 the South African Academy of Science & Art awarded Eloff with the medal of Honour for Art.

Bron / Source: De Kamper, G & De Klerk, C. 2011. Sculptured. The complete works of Fanie Eloff. University of Pretoria: Department of UP Arts.