Shopping Cart

Elangeni – die huis van Pierneef / Elangeni – the house of Pierneef

JH Pierneef (1886-1957)

Nylstroom, Middelfontein, 1942. Potlood/ Pencil (13 x 20 cm). Versameling / Collection: La Motte Museum, Franschhoek

JH Pierneef (1886-1957)

1950. Waterverf / watercolour. Versameling / Collection: DITSONG Museums van Suid-Afrika / of South Africa

JH Pierneef (1886-1957)

Elangeni (sa). Ink op papier / ink on paper. Verameling / Collection: DITSONG Museums van Suid-Afrika / of South Africa

Met die kennis en belangstelling in verskeie argitektoniese style was Pierneef toegerus om sy eie huise te bou, soos hy wel het vanaf 1910. Maar dit was spesifiek sy strewe om ‘n unieke Suid-Afrikaanse boutradisie te skep, soos met sy kuns, wat hom gelei het na die skepping van sy ‘kraal’. Op 5 Januarie 1939 koop Pierneef deel D van die plaas Mopanie no.49, wat net buite Pretoria geleë is.

Sy idee was om ‘n huis te bou wat uit verskillende geboue bestaan, elke vertrek is dus ‘n gebou en die verbind met mekaar deur smal paadjies. Pierneef was bekend vir sy opmerking dat ‘n trots Suid-Afrikaanse styl materiaal sal bevat wat in die omliggende area gevind is, soos met die tradisie van inheemse huise. Dus is die klip en riet wat op die plaas beskikbaar was goed benut. Die inspirasie agter die geboue wat met mekaar verbind en soos ‘n kraal uitgelê is, is spesifiek van die Xhosa kultuur. Deur te verwys na ander Afrika of inheemse stamme, het Pierneef die grond Elangeni genoem, wat in Zulu ‘in die son’ beteken. Die voordeur was gekerf met ‘n Eland en ‘n wildsbok gegiet in sandsteen vir die kaggel, beide deur Coert Steynberg uitgevoer, het Pierneef se bekoring en liefde vir San rotskuns bewys.

Toe die plaas gekoop is, was daar fondasies van ‘n vorige inheemse kraal, Pierneef het besluit om die fondasies te inkorporeer in die uitleg van sy ‘kraal’. Die uitleg van die verskillende geboue dra by dat dit klein binnehowe skep. Binne die howe kon Pierneef tuine omskep wat van sy gunsteling spesies soos stuike, doring en kiepersol bome ingesluithet. Wynand en Eleanor Smith merk dat Pierneef se filosofie, sy sensitiwiteit en sy liefde vir organies argitektuur gereflekteer word in die unieke woning.

Die ‘kraal’ het verdubbel in grootte en spasie oor die jare soos Pierneef aanhou bou het, sy vriend Norman Eaton, ‘n argitek, het ook advise gebied. Pierneef het ook ‘n ateljee aan die agterkant van die leefareas en slaapkamers gebou, die ateljee is gedoop met sy eerste tentoonstelling in 1941. Pierneef en beeldhouer vriend Fanie Eloff het die eerste groep uitstalling by Elangeni aangebied, daarop volg verskeie solo en groep tentoonstellings wat gepaart gegaan het met onthaal van gaste. Pierneef het moeg geraak vir die onthaal en sy gesondheid het beperkings hierop geplaas, alle uitstallings en onthaal van gaste is stop gesit in 1955.

Na Pierneef oorlede is het sy weduwee May steeds op die plaas gewoon, met haar dood in 1969 is dit verkoop aan ‘n privaatkoper. Die nuwe eienaars het die meesterstuk wat deur Pierneef geskep is respekteer en alle veranderinge en aanpassings is so gedoen om by die styl van die bestaande geboue te pas. Elangeni is verklaar tot ‘n erfenisterrein.

 __________

With the knowledge and interest on various architectural styles, Pierneef was well equipped to build his own houses, as he did from as early as 1910. But it was specifically his search to create a unique South African building tradition as with his art that led him to the creation of his ‘kraal’. On 5 January 1939 Pierneef purchased section D of the farm Mopanie no. 49, situated just outside of Pretoria.

His idea was to build a house that consist of various buildings that would lead to one another with narrow pathways, each building was thus a specific room. Being known for remarking that a true South African style would use material found locally as with the tradition of indigenous houses, the stone from the ridge and thatch available on the farm was well used. The inspiration behind inter-leading buildings arranged in the shape of a kraal, was specifically from the Xhosa culture. Referencing other African and indigenous tribes Pierneef named his property Elangeni, which in Zulu means ‘in the sun’, the front door was carved with a resting Eland and a sandstone cast of a small antelope for the fireplace, both by Coert Steynberg, showed Pierneef’s fascination and love for San rock art.

When the farm was purchased foundation walls of a previous indigenous kraal were found and Pierneef decided to incorporate these foundations into the special arrangement of his ‘kraal’. The layout of the various buildings in effect contributes to the creation of courtyards. Within these courtyards Pierneef could create gardens planted with his favourite species including shrubs, thorn and kiepersol trees. Wynand an Eleanor Smith notes that Pierneef’s philosophy, his sensitivity, and his love of organic architecture are reflected in this unique home.

The ‘kraal’ doubled in size and space over the years as Pierneef kept on adding to the house specifically with advise from his architect friend Norman Eaton. Pierneef also built a studio that was at the back of the living areas and bedrooms, the studio was christened with its first exhibition in 1941. Pierneef and sculptor friend Fanie Eloff presented the first group exhibition at Elangeni, various other solo and group exhibitions followed and a lot of entertaining would take place here. Pierneef became tired of all of the entertaining, his health also put constraints on this, so all exhibitions and entertaining at Elangeni stopped in 1955.

After Pierneef passed away his widow May, stayed on the farm and when she passed in 1969 it was sold off to a private buyer. The new owners respected the masterpiece created by Pierneef and all alterations and additions was done to the style of the existing buildings. Elangeni is a declared heritage site.

 

 Bronne / Sources:

Nel, PG (eds,) 1990. JH Pierneef – His life and his work. p190-200.

Join Mail List
Join Mail List Image

Join Our Mailing List

Stay informed about the La Motte
Experience and offerings.

Subscribe Now