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Tuesday, August 6, 2019


(“Plaastoneel en berge” woodcut by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef)

Absa Gallery to showcase old masters and young break-out talent at Hilton Arts Festival.

Two of South Africa’s proudest artistic exports – JH Pierneef and Anton van Wouw – will come under the spotlight at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival between September 13 and 15, 2019, when Absa features a sample of some of their leading work from its corporate collection.

Pierneef is widely considered to be one of the best of the old South African masters, and his work continues to serve as inspiration for future landscape painters. He is in excellent company with Van Vouw, who is known as the father of South African sculpture.

(Left: “The Skapu Player” – bronze by Anton van Wouw)

“They were pioneer artists who represented the top tier of South African art in its various forms, and their art continues to leave an incomparable imprint on the art world – making the decision to take a sample of their work to showcase at the prestigious Hilton Arts Festival a simple one. Our objectives are the same: to shine a spotlight on South Africa’s outstanding artistic talent,” says Senior Specialist Art Curator of Absa Art Gallery, Dr Paul Bayliss.

Dr Bayliss will also give four public lectures, Pierneef and Van Wouw: Looking at a united narrative through the artwork of Pierneef and Van Wouw in an early South Africa, based on the works being exhibited at the festival in the Absa marquee.

His lecture will focus on the enduring love Pierneef had for the countryside, and the inspiration he took from it throughout his lifetime. It will also examine how Van Wouw was inspired by the rich tapestry of the people of South Africa and how they became his primary theme.

“Absa’s corporate collection, which is one of the largest in Africa as well as in the top 10 globally, confirms our ongoing commitment to preserving Africa’s abundant artistic heritage for posterity, and we believe in sharing this heritage with equally proud Africans through platforms like the Hilton Arts Festival,” says Dr Bayliss. “More than simply preserving the country and continent’s art legacy, though, Absa is committed to shining the spotlight on works of young African artists to bring their possibilities to life.”

This is why the winning artworks from the 2019 Absa L’Atelier competition will be featured alongside the work of the old masters in the Absa marquee. The Absa L’Atelier is one of the oldest art competitions for young artists. Now in its 34th year, Absa L’Atelier has built a strong legacy as a platform that allows the dynamic, inspiring and young visual artists of Africa to shine.

Absa buys artworks from these artists annually to add to its corporate collection. “The collection therefore contains works spanning several periods depicting the history of our country and this fits in with our overall objective to promote knowledge, understanding and practice of the visual arts, as well as to make the arts more accessible to the public,” concludes Dr Bayliss.

For further information about Absa Group Limited, visit