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.