Ampenberger, Stefan (1908 – 1983)

Stefan Ampenberger began painting at home in Bavaria as a youth. Adventurous and restless, he wandered widely on foot and by sea until he came to South Africa in 1926. When he settled in South Africa he met JH Amschewitz in Johannesburg, where he received guidance. He travelled the countryside by caravan for 17 years, sketching and exhibiting alongside his wife, Iris Ampenberger. In 1964 he finally settled in Thaba ‘Nchu. Ampenberger is primarily concerned with landscape, occasionally figures intrude upon the scene, but they are incidental to the sweeping rhythms of clustered vegetation and the geophysical formation of the land. His technique is bold, paint is applied in broad, juicy strokes, and natural features are casually defined. There is a kind of restless, expressionist bravura about Ampenberger’s paintings and an absence of detail, which stamps then as modern. During the early 70’s, the browns and greens of Ampenberger’s former canvases gave way to intensified chromatic colour.