Shopping Cart

Die Suid-Afrika Huis in Londen / The South Africa House in London

JH Pierneef (1886-1957). Stormwolke/ Storm Clouds, c1929

Olieverf op skilderbord/ Oil on board (38 x 52 cm). Versameling / Collection: La Motte Museum, Franschhoek

JH Pierneef (1886-1957)

Hoenderhokke by Meerlust Kelders Linosnee / Linocut. 27.3 x 26.2 cm La Motte Ontvangs / Reception.

Coert Steynberg (1905-1982)

Borsbeeld / Bust JH Pierneef (sa). Brons / Bronze. Versameling / Collection: DITSONG Museums of South Africa (C15)

JH Pierneef saam / with Coert & Betsy Steynberg in 1957

Photograph courtesy of Timo Crous (CUM Boeke)

Na afloop van Pierneef se suksesvolle uitvoering van die openbare opdragwerk vir die Johannesburg Stasiepanele in 1932 is hy genader om saam ‘n groep Suid-Afrikaanse kunstenaars die Suid-Afrika Huis by Trafalgar Square in Londen te versier. Elk van die kunstenaars het ‘n spesifieke vertrek en tema gekry waartoe hul werke moes skep. Pierneef is reeds in 1931 deur Charles te Water en die argitek Sir Herbert Baker genader rakende die nasionale opdrag.

Pierneef saam sy vrou en dogter Marita het op 27 Junie 1933 na Londen vertrek. Dit was ook die tyd wat Pierneef se pa, Gerrit, baie siek was en het Pierneef met ‘n swaar hart na Londen gegaan vir die uitvoering van die opdrag, sy pa is in November dieselfde jaar oorlede. Pierneef het tot en met Mei 1934 aan agt skilderye vir die Suid-Afrika Huis gewerk, die werke sluit in:

Matala’s location, Autumn: Die Hoek, Houtbosberg, Winter veld scene from the Drakensberg, The Witwatersrand, Evening: Mont aux Sources, Winter in the Low Veld and Koedoesrivier.

Onder die ander kunstenaars was die beeldhouer Coert Steynberg. Dit was met hul verblyf in Londen en die uitvoering van die opdrag dat Pierneef en Steynberg ‘n hegte vriendskap gevorm het. Die twee het ‘n liefde vir gesels en vir die bosveld gedeel, dit was ook Pierneef wat Steynberg aan San rotskuns blootgestel het en so ook ‘n bewondering by Steynberg geskep. Die gedeelde belangstelling kom ook na vore in 1939, Steynberg het die voordeur vir Pierneef se huis Elangeni uitgekerf met ‘n Eland en die standsteen bo die kaggel is uitgevoer met ‘n wildsbok. Steynberg en sy familie was altyd welkom by die Pierneefs en anders om.

Steynberg het die bekende kopbeeld van Pierneef vermoedelik geskep kort na hul terugkeer uit Londen tydens ‘n sosiale ontmoeting by die Pierneef’s. Pierneef het self vir Steynberg se dogter, Isa, die linosneë Hoenderhokke by Meerlust Kelder gemaak wat in haar rondawel gehang het, hy het graag van sy gebruikte toerusting uitgedeel en so het Isa ook verfkwaste in ‘n keramiekpotjie, palette en skilderborde ontvang om self te gebruik.

Die Steynbergs het ‘n plaas in Pontdrif, Limpopo besit waarheen die Pierneef’s graag gereis het, Pierneef het die area ook goed verken en was veral lief om bome in die omgewing the bestudeer. Sy laaste wegbreek saam die Steynberg familie was in Julie 1957 kort voor hy verder verswak het weens nog ‘n hartaanval. Pierneef het sy laaste verjaarsdag op 13 Augustus saam Coert en Betsie gevier.

__________

After the successful completion of the public commission for the Johannesburg Station panels in 1932, Pierneef was amongst the group of South African artists approached to decorate the South Africa House at Trafalgar Square in London. Each of the artists got a specific room and theme to which they had to execute their work. Pierneef was already approached in 1931 by Charles te Water and architect Sir Herbert Baker in connection to the national commission.

Pierneef together with his wife and daughter Marita left for London on 27 June 1933. This was also the time that Pierneef’s father, Gerrit, was very ill. Pierneef left for London to complete the commission with a heavy heart, his father passed away in November the same year. Pierneef completed eight paintings for the South Africa House by May 1934, these included:

Matala’s location, Autumn: Die Hoek, Houtbosberg, Winter veld scene from the Drakensberg, The Witwatersrand, Evening: Mont aux Sources, Winter in the Low Veld and Koedoesrivier.

The sculptor Coert Steynberg was included with this group of artists. It was during their stay in London while completing the commission that Pierneef and Steynberg’s friendship started. They both loved to talk and shared a love for the bushveld. It was also Pierneef that introduced San rock art to Steynberg which sparked his fascination. This shared interest one can trace to 1939 when Steynberg carved a resting Eland for the front door and casted an antelope in sandstone for the fireplace of Pierneef’s house Elangeni. Steynberg and his family was always welcome at the Pierneef’s and the other way around.

Steynberg probably sculpted the known bust of Pierneef short after their return from London during one of their social gatherings. Pierneef also designed and carved the linocut Hoenderhokke by Meerlust Kelder for Steynberg’s daughter Isa. This was for her hut and Pierneef regularly handed out his used equipment and so Isa received some brushes in a ceramic vase, palette and painting board to use.

The Steynberg’s owned a farm in Pontdrif, Limopo, and the Pierneef’s regularly spent time there. Pierneef knew the area very well and loved to study the trees in the area. His last trip with the Steynberg family was in July 1957 just before he got worse due to another heart attack. Pierneef celebrated his last birthday on 13 August with Coert and Betsie.

Bronne / Sources:

Nel, PG (eds.) 1990. JH Pierneef – His life and his work. p.80-83.

Steynberg, C. 1982. Coert Steynberg : ‘n Outobiografie. Cum-Boeke.