South African Art
South African art is some of the most ancient and beautiful art in the world - the rock art of the ancestors of today's San. It is also the scene of a host of vibrant and challenging contemporary artists producing new and important work.
It is our pleasure to offer you some of the best South African contemporary and traditional art. In order for to better appreciate these pieces of art we invite you to read and learn about the history of art in South Africa.
History: A locally
Towards the end of the 19th century, painters Jan Volschenk and Hugo Naudé and the sculptor Anton van Wouw began, through their work, to establish a locally rooted art. Their work is the first glimpse of an artistic vision engaging with life as lived in South Africa, for its own sake, rather than as a "report" to the colonial master. It is the art of the moment in which South Africa, with Union in 1910 and thus the formal end of the colonial era, was beginning to acquire its own national identity.
In the first decades of the 20th century, the Dutch-born painter JH Pierneef brought a coolly geometric sensibility to the South African landscape, finding in it a strict but beautiful order; he also, in a way that fed into Afrikaner nationalist ideology, found it bereft of human inhabitants.
By the 1930s, two women artists, Maggie Laubscher and Irma Stern, brought a different kind of subjective gaze to South African art by using the techniques and sensibilities of post-impressionism and expressionism. Their bold way with colour and composition, and the assumption of a highly personal point of view, rather scandalised those with old-fashioned concepts of acceptable art.
Yet already younger artists such as Gregoire Boonzaier, Maud Sumner and Moses Kottler were rejoicing in the new spirit of cosmopolitanism they were able to bring to South African art.
Sometimes South African art seemed to float above the political issues of the day; at other times it tackled them with vigour and insight.
South African reality
A Brief History of Art in South Africa: