JACOB HENDRIK PIERNEEF
SUMMER RAIN IN THE BUSHVELD
signed and dated 18 (lower right)
oil on board
90 by 141cm., 35½ by 55½in.
Please note that this work exhibits networks of craquelure throughout, heavier within the sky and trees. The work displays some surface scratches in places, concentrated in the same area. Minor light brown surface marks scattered intermittently across the surface, with a group approx. 24cm from left edge and 34cm from top edge. Minor surface chips/loss in places. Minor dents to the board in places, particularly within the upper left-hand quadrant of the work. Largest dent measuring approx 3cm. wide.
Inspection under UV light reveals some touches of painting particularly within the sky and the trees as well as white accretions found mostly within the lower half of the painting.
Please note that this work is on board and there appear to be areas of wear and associated loss to the edges, visible from the reverse.
This work is framed.
Colours are true to catalogue illustration.
Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding the present work.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Stephan Welz & Co in Association with Sotheby's, Johannesburg, 17 May 1999, lot 326
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner
J.H. Pierneef is widely-revered for not only depicting, but defining, the South African landscape, and Summer Rain in the Bushveld is an excellent and important example of the master’s work executed on a monumental scale rarely seen outside museum and institutional collections.
Pierneef was endlessly inspired by the South African bushveld, a subject he returned to throughout his career. This relatively early example was painted in 1918, a significant year in which Pierneef finally left his job at the State Library to realise his dream of becoming a full-time artist. Unlike the highly stylised works to come a decade later, early works such as this remain true to the bushveld that he saw. Choosing to make his preliminary sketches en plein air before completing his final painting back in his studio, this landscape’s ever-changing colours and wide array of shapes and textures provided Pierneef with ample inspiration, from which he would create some of his most seminal works.
Pierneef would spent hours sketching, perfecting the ominous clouds that rolled over this dramatic landscape: "His mystic towers and castles in the air above the Transvaal landscape are almost legends in themselves, they have become symbolic. They hover over the veld like mountains and bring a dramatic tension to static scenes. At times these heavy cloud masses are highly stylised or they form a stylistic unity with the landscape. On other occasions they acquire almost anthropomorphic traits" (Nel, 1990, p.149). The approaching storm clouds and arched gate-way formations would later take on a more spiritual connotation, as seen in his most acclaimed work, the Johannesburg Station Panels (1929-1932).
These early years following the end of the Boer War and the Union of South Africa in 1910 saw a period of nation-building and the creation of a South African national identity in which the artist was actively involved, and the South African landscape was central to the ideology of the emerging nation. During this period the land was claimed both physically and artistically as ‘home’, and in turn both the land and the landscape helped to define the nation. The national mythology centred on the Voortrekkers and their migration from the Cape to the Transvaal, and Pierneef depicted the South African landscape in a way that expressed its unique character as well as the Afrikaners’ connection to the land. Many of these national ideas were synonymous with religious righteousness, and Pierneef’s Edenic landscapes can be interpreted as depictions of God’s Promised Land. This dream of an idealised perfect landscape was shared by many South Africans, who came to see their country through Pierneef’s eyes.
P.G. Nel, J.H. Pierneef: His Life and Work, Cape Town, 1990