Sunday, May 18, 2008

Johannes Meintjies

A small collection of work by South African artist Johannes Meintjies (1923 - 1980). The son of a sheep-farmer; Johannes Meintjies spent his first five years on the family farm 'Grootzeekoegat' in the Molteno district.

After the early death of his father in 1929, the family moved to Riversdale. In 1938 the family moved to Cape Town and the 15 year-old boy began serious art study. An exhibition of Maggie Laubser's work in 1940 evoked his ardent admiration; he wrote a fan-letter to her and a close friendship developed.

In 1944 at the age of 21, Johannes Meintjies published a book on Maggie Laubser and his first exhibitions caused a stir in Johannesburg and Cape Town, after which Johannes Meintjies taught art at South African College School.

While in London Johannes Meintjies worked part-time for BBC between 1945 and 1947. Johannes Meintjies returned to Cape Town; worked at painting, broadcasting and writing. He won an award from 'Die Vaderland' (The Fatherland) in 1949 for 'most original South African painting' jointly with Diederick During.

Johannes Meintjies retreated to the family farm during 1949-54 to write and paint in seclusion and restored the historical farm-building. He lived in Johannesburg during 1955-65. Johannes Meintjies returned to Molteno in 1965. He exhibited annually until his death, but although he continued to paint, he devoted the larger part of his activity to writing; published 35 books - fiction and non-fiction (mainly historical).

Following his death, Meintjes' manuscripts, letters, diaries, etc, were presented to the English Literary Museum, Grahamstown, to be housed in a 'Johannes Meintjes Room'.

No comments: