David Botha (1921 – 1995)

David Botha is considered to be a second generation follower of Cape Impressionism, continuing the stylistic tradition that was established by Naudé, Wenning and Spilhaus. His most sought after works are his paintings of the typical Cape winter and ‘wet street’ scenes – usually painted on site in Paarl and Stellenbosch. These oil paintings are typically filled with white-washed houses and dark, bare oak trees outlined in black and etched against a grey winter sky – a characteristic often adopted by the Cape Impressionists.

Botha was born in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape in December 1921, and qualified as an art teacher from the Cape Town Teachers Training College in 1941. His first of fifty solo exhibitions was held in Cape Town in 1944, and he participated in over 100 group exhibitions in South Africa and abroad during his lifetime.

Botha taught art at various high schools in Paarl from 1946 until 1979. From 1950 to 1952 he studied at the Camberwell School of Art in London, and further enriched his art education by travelling in France, Italy and Spain during this period. In 1967 he also travelled to Europe and the Middle East.

David Botha was both a painter and a graphic artist, and his subject matter ranged from landscapes and seascapes to still life compositions. He used various media including oil, watercolour, ink, pencil, charcoal and assorted graphic media.

According to Berman (1996), Botha’s paintings preserve a record of the quietly-aging atmosphere of the typical rural Cape towns and they enjoy extensive patronage, particularly in his home province.

David Botha passed away in Paarl on 8 August, 1995 at the age of 73.


Berman, E. (1996) Art and Artists of South Africa, Southern Book Publishers: Cape Town, 69.

Ogilvie, G. (1988). The Dictionary of South African Painters and Sculptors, Everard Read: Johannesburg, 77-78.

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