Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, born on the Highveld in 1886, is perhaps South Africa’s most iconic landscape painter. Having developed an unmistakable and economical aesthetic during the first half of the twentieth century, his pictures, whether described as startlingly beautiful, willingly experimental, nostalgic, or gently monumental, are familiar to generations of South Africans. Enormously prolific, the artist was equally comfortable working in oils, gouache, watercolour and casein, while the prints he produced, both linocuts and etchings, remain as influential as they are collectable.
It goes without saying that Pierneef has attracted attention from eminent art historians and critics; thanks to the emotive charge of his pictures, and the historical context in which they were produced, his career has been widely discussed in socio-political terms too. Pierneef died in 1957.