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Pierneef en Namibie / Pierneef and Namibia

JH Pierneef (1886-1957)

Sandduine/ Sand Dunes, c1924. Gemengde media/ Mix media (11 x 24 cm). Versameling / Collection: La Motte Museum, Franschhoek

Miershoop, SWA

Linosnee / Linocut. 20.5 x 26 cm. La Motte Syrah Studio. Versameling / Collection: La Motte Wynlandgoed / Wine Estate. Vertoon op / Featured on: 2012 La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier

Miershope, SWA

Linosnee / Linocut. 20.8 x 26 cm. La Motte Jonkershuis. Versameling / Collection: La Motte Wynlandgoed / Wine Estate. Vertoon op / Featured on: 2010 La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier

Augsberg, SWA

Linosnee / Linocut. 11.3 x 19.5 cm. La Motte Ontvangs / Reception. Versameling / Collection: La Motte Wynlandgoed / Wine Estate

Nakop, SWA

Linosnee / Linocut. 10 x 12.8 cm. Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant. Versameling / Collection: La Motte Wynlandgoed / Wine Estate

Na Pierneef se terugkeer na Suid-Afrika in 1903 was dit eers in 1923 wat hy die geleentheid gekry het om te reis buite die grense van Suid-Afrika. In die vroeë stadium van Pierneef se loopbaan het hy finansieël gesukkel, veral na sy bedanking by die Staatsbiblioteek in 1917 en sy diens as kuns dosent by die Pretoria en Heidelberg Normaal Colleges het ook tot ‘n einde gekom in 1919. Sy persoonlike lewe en huwelik met Agatha (sy eerste vrou met wie hy in 1910 getrou het) was ook moeilik.

Verskeie kunstenaars en vriende soos Toon van den Heever het Pierneef aangemoedig om ‘n reis na die toe Suid-Wes Afrika, nou Namibië, te onderneem, maar dit was op die ou end die inspirasie van Duitse kunstenaar Hans Aschenborn wat Pierneef laat besluit het om te gaan. Pierneef het op 22 April 1923 in Namibië arriveer en oorspronklik by van den Heever gewoon. Met die leë landskap, woestyn, oneidigende bergreekse en deurskynende lig, was Pierneef vasgevang in ‘n plek waar hy kon doen waarvoor hy lief was – om te verf terwyl hy die natuur verken. Dit was gedurende die reis wat Pierneef gereeld met Anton van Wouw en vriend Thom Steele gekorrespondeer het. In die verskeie briewe kan mens agterkom dat Pierneef sy reis verskriklik geniet het, hy skryf so aan Steele “…this country is individual but interesting to paint. The variety is intense and to do things properly one must stay here a whole year”. Pierneef het ongelukkig nie vir ‘n jaar gebly nie maar vir drie maande, hy was ook instaat om na twee maande in Namibië ‘n solo tentoonstelling van 30 werke, olie en linosneë, aan te bied op 20 Junie 1923 in Windhoek.

Pierneef het vir ‘n tweede keer na Namibië gereis gedurende Julie die volgende jaar en tot Oktober gebly. Dit word in verskeie bronne gemeld dat die 1923 en 1924 reise na Namibië lewe terug gebring het in Pierneef se werk, sy palet is ook aangepas om meer oranje, pienk en geel te akkommodeer. Anton Hendricks, geliefde vriend en tydgenoot van Pierneef beskryf dat sy werk opwinding en tevredenheid uit gestraal het. Die volgende areas met spesifiek berge kan opgemerk word in Pierneef se werk; Kameelberg – Kunene, Erongo, Karibib, Okahandja, Marienthal – Fish River Canyon, Ausberg, Otijwarongo, Usakos en Amatako.

Pierneef het ‘n toneel van Erongo gebruik vir sy bekende Komposisie in Blou (c1928) en hy het die Okahandja berge en Karibib as twee tonele vir die Johannesburgse Stasiepanele gebruik.

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After Pierneef’s return to South Africa in 1903 it was only in 1923 when he got the opportunity to travel outside of South African borders. At the early stages of Pierneef’s career he was struggling financially especially after he resigned from the State Library in 1917 and the employment as art lecture at the Pretoria and Heidelberg Normal Colleges also came to an end in 1919. His personal life and marriage to Agatha (his first wife whom he married in 1910) was also difficult.

Various artists and friends like Toon van den Heever encouraged Pierneef to take a trip to the then South West Africa (now Namibia) but finally is was the inspiration of German artist Hans Aschenborn that made Pierneef go. Pierneef arrived in Namibia on 22 April 1923 and initially stayed with van den Heever. With the vast landscapes, desert, endless mountain ranges and translucent light Pierneef was caught in a place where he could just do what he loved, paint while exploring nature. It was during this trip that Pierneef frequently corresponded with Anton van Wouw and friend Thom Steele. In the various letters one realize that Pierneef was enjoying this trip immensely, he wrote to Steele “…this country is individual but interesting to paint. The variety is intense and to do things properly one must stay here a whole year”. Pierneef unfortunately did not stay a year but at least three months and he was able to host a solo exhibition of 30 works, oil and linocuts, on 20 June 1923 in Windhoek just two months after his arrival.

Pierneef returned to Namibia on a second trip during July the following year staying till October. It is noted in various sources that the 1923 and 1924 trips to Namibia bought back life into Pierneef’s work and his pallet adapted to include more orange, pink and yellows. Anton Hendriks, dear friend and contemporary of Pierneef, described that his work exude excitement and contentment. The following areas with specifically mountains can be noted in Pierneef’s work; Kameelberg – Kunene, Erongo, Karibib, Okahandja, Marienthal – Fish River Canyon, Ausberg, Otijwarongo, Usakos and Amatako.

Pierneef used a Erongo setting for his famous work Composition in Blue (c1928) and the Okahandja mountains and Karibib also featured in two of the Johannesburg Station Panels.

 

Bronne / Sources:

Nel, PG (eds.) 1990. JH Pierneef: His life and his work. p.59-62.