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Pierneef se gekose medium / Pierneef’s chosen media

JH Pierneef (1886-1957)

Laer Limpopo Riete/ Lower Limpopo Reeds, 1925. Olieverf op skilderbord/ Oil on board (36 x 52 cm). Versameling / Collection: La Motte Museum, Franschhoek

Pierneef het konsekwent  in vier hoofmediums gewerk: tekening, hout-en linosnee,  kaseïen en olie. Sy tekeninge in potlood, houtskool en kryt is in eie reg volwaardige kunswerke. Dit getuig van liniêre ritmes, wiskundige verhoudinge, geometriese verbindinge en vereenvoudige vorms. Tekenwerk was belangrik vir hom as voorstudies van beide sy grafiese en skilderwerk. Hy het talle rowwe sketse en meer volledige tekeninge gemaak voordat hy dit op ‘n etsblok, hout- of linosnee of op doek oorgedra het.

Primêr was hy ‘n tekenaar en was ook aangetrokke tot die argitektuur. Sy bydrae as grafiese kunstenaar is net so belangrik soos sy pionierswerk as landskapskilder.

 In 1907 het hy met ets- en houtsneewerk begin eksperimenteer. Later het hy hoofsaaklik net op linoleum gewerk. Tegnies was sy linosneë knap uitgevoer en die drukwerk goed. Sy gebruik van plat vlakke, vormvereenvoudiging en abstrakte lyne kan reeds in sy vroeë linosneë gesien word, veral in die portretstudies waar die detail van die gelaatstrekke tot die essensiële deur die minimum lynwerk beperk word. Die meduim is veral doeltreffend om uitdrukking deur kontrasterende vlakke te verhoog. Hy het ‘n oliebasis-verf op wit en soms op blou en bruin papier vir impressies gebruik.

Pierneef het ook in waterverf, akwatint en in akwarelle gewerk waarin hy landskap, boom – en argitektoniese studies gemaak het.

Sy olieverfwerke, hoofsaaklik landskappe, natuur tonele van bome en rotse en argitektoniese voorstellings, is ‘n belangrike bydrae tot Suid-Afrikaanse kuns. Eers was sy kuns meer realisties, maar gaandeweg is dit geometries vereenvoudig en georden. Daar kan byvoorbeeld gepraat word van die “dekoratiewe” Pierneefs, die “liniêre” Pierneefs, die “konstruksionele” Pierneefs, die “monumentale” Pierneefs, die “geometriese” Pierneefs en die vroeëre “romanties-realistiese” Pierneefs.

Pierneef het hoofsaaklik sy olieverfskildere op doek of bord uitgevoer. Hy het ook in kaseïen, ‘n redelike onbekende meduim, gewerk. Dit is ‘n melk gebaseerde verbinding, wat hy van ‘n Duitse verskaffer ontvang het, waarmee hy sy doeke en borde behandel het. Die kaseïenskilderye het Pierneef meestal in ‘n impressionistiese styl geskilder wat in kleur en atmosfeer sterk ooreenkomste toon met sy olieverfwerk, maar in ontwerp en stemming verskil het. Hierdie werk word baie hoog aangeslaan en word deur kenners beskou as sy treffendste werk.

Pierneef se produksie as kunstenaar was besonder groot en veelsydig en in elk van hierdie mediums het hy voortreflike werk gelewer.

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Pierneef mainly worked in four mediums that of drawing, wood and linocut, casein and oil. His drawings in pencil, charcoal and chalk can be viewed as artworks in their own right. These are evident of liniar lines, mathematical proportions, geometrical ties and simplified forms. Drawing was important to Pierneef as forestudies for both his graphic works and paintings. He sketched many rough and more detailed sketches before it was transferred to the etch plate, wood or linocut block or canvas.

Primary he was a draftsman, with an attraction to architecture. Pierneef’s contribution as graphic artist is as important as his pioneer work as a landscape artist.

In 1907 he started experimenting with etch and woodcuts, later he solely worked on linoleum. Technically his linocuts were well executed and the printing good. His use of flat surfaces, simplified forms and abstracts lines can already be observed in his early linocuts. He used an oil based ink on white, blue or sometimes brown paper for the prints.

Pierneef also worked in watercolour, aquatint and aquarelles these were mainly used for his studies on landscapes, trees and architecture.

His oil paintings, mainly landscapes, natural scenes of trees, cliffs and architectural representations are an important contribution to South African Art. First his work were more realistic, but gradually it is geometrically simplified and organized. For example one could speak of the “decorative” Pierneef’s, the “linear” Pierneef’s, the “constructional” Pierneef’s, the “monumental” Pierneef’s, the “geometrical” Pierneef’s and the early “romantic-realistic” Pierneef’s.

Pierneef mainly executed his oil paintings on canvas or board (hardboard and cardboard). He also worked in casein, a unfamiliar medium, it is a milk based binding which he received from a German supplier. Pierneef mostly used a impressionistic style when working in casein, these works have strong resemblences with his oil paintings refering to colour and atmosphere, but the design and feel differs. The casein works are highly rated by the experts and seen as his most striking works.

The volume of work Pierneef produced as an artist is very large and versatile, and in each of the above mentioned mediums he delivered excellent work.

 Bydrae van teks / Contribution of text: Amanda Botha