January, 2017

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Boonzaier, Gregoire (1909 – 2005)

Gregoire was born in 1909 in Cape Town and passed away in 2005.Few South African viewers can fail to Gregoire Boonzaier landscape, the nervous outlines, the flat planes and the dark, accenting form of trees, all reminiscent of Wenning’s structural devices. Gregoire referred to himself as a “house painter” with a fondness for making compositions out of jumbles of houses and walls. Although he displayed highly precocious talent as a boy and enjoyed a career of singular artistic popularity ever since, his most valuable contribution to South African art was undoubtedly his driving effort as chairman of the New Group during the years when South Africa’s younger, forward looking artists needed an energetic and progressive spokesman to organize them into an influential force. In his wake have followed a large number of popular Cape painters, secure in the market for “Cape Impressionism” created by Gregoire Boonzaier’s crusading effort.

Battiss, Walter (1906 – 1982)

Was a South African artist, generally considered the foremost South African abstract painter and known as the creator of the quirky “Fook Island” concept. Battiss was the son of an English Methodist family long established family in Somerset East. He drew and painted  as child. In 1917 the family moved to Koffiefontein, where an engineer on the local mines first stimulated his abiding interest in archeology and expeditions in search of primitive art followed. In 1919 the Battiss family settled in Fauresmith where he completed his education, matriculating in 1923. In 1924 he became a clerk in the Magistrates Court in Rustenburg. His formal art studies started in 1929 at the Witwatersrand Technical College (drawing and painting), followed by the Johannesburg Training College (a Teacher’s Diploma) and etching lessons. Battiss continued his studies while working as a magistrate’s clerk, and finally obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at University of South Africa at the age of 35. Battiss regarded Bushman painting as a significant artform and not merely as an item of scientific curiosity.