PRESS RELEASE____________________________________________________24 OCTOBER 2009
GEELBECK FARM, WESTCOAST
R250 000 - R350 000
Sold for R280 000
Since the Middle Ages, the image of an enclosed garden has been a recurring motif in Western art, bringing with it the notion of refuge from the outside world and positioning the idea of tamed nature as a harmonious realm. Francois Krige engages in this tradition which probably found its greatest exponent in Monet. Particularly in the last decade of the artist’s life, the Montagu garden became one of his chief inspirations and the paintings form an important, sustained thematic legacy. These should rightly be divided into two: those of his studio garden and those of his garden at home. Krige would also set out in the early morning to paint landscape scenes around Montagu. The celebration of Montagu skies became a feature of the later paintings, the sky rendered in soaring notes of blue, often worked roughly and confidently across large expanses of the support. The mountains’ rendering matches that of the clouds in a rich surface texture of webbed strokes, making the sky as permanent, or as transitory, as the mountains.
Krige was an artist of poetic reserve, of exceptional draughtsmanship, and a colourist comparable with the Post-Impressionists. His subject matter remained that of the late nineteenth century: still lifes, portraits, landscapes and figure studies. But he is not simply a South African Post-Impressionist and no label fits entirely comfortably or consistently and none should be imposed. He was influenced by many styles and traces of artists as diverse as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Chagall, Matisse and Marc are discernible at various times in his career. He was able to achieve the essence of a scene with great economy. His attention to details of colour, light and form in flowers, fruit, landscapes and the human figure show us his mastery of the simple facts of our existence, unencumbered by a need to say things that are contemporary or in ways that are ground-breaking. But more importantly, it is a personal vision that comes through; an honest, hard-earned ‘take’ on the world, a private relationship with paint, brush and canvas that makes a Krige work unmistakable.
Francois Krige was born on 20 July 1913. He died of cancer on 19 February 1994, aged 81.
Text edited from Justin Fox The Life and Art of Francois Krige 2000 Fernwood Press: Vlaeberg
For further information, please phone our Johannesburg Paintings Department on 011 880 3125