Hennie Niemann Jnr 2006

Under an Africa sky A solo exhibition of oil paintings by Hennie Niemann Jnr was hosted from 18 May to 3 June 2006.

To view the paintings exhibited click here

Catalogue Foreword

Having been involved in Hennie Niemann Jnr’s career since 1993, we are proud to present his first solo exhibition of oil paintings. To get a better idea of what makes this artist tick, we asked him some questions:

Q: What motivated you to become a professional artist - was it because your father is a successful artist and Gregoire Boonzaier was your next-door neighbour?
HNJ: To me, there was never any doubt that I wanted to be an artist. Obviously, the fact that my father could provide for his family as an artist was reassuring, but I never considered doing anything else.

Q: Did Gregoire have any influence on your development as an aspiring artist?
HNJ: Gregoire and my father both advised me not to attend an art school. They believed that most young artists are ruined at art schools, where they are forced into particular moulds and where classical training is neglected.

Q: How did you develop your own style?
HNJ: My deep love and respect for quality drawings, where the sensitive use of line depicts character and movement has always been my greatest inspiration. For two years my father insisted that I produce up to 10 drawings a day in the Rembrandt tradition of bistre (soot mixed with water) applied with a reed pen and brush. When Gregoire purchased one of these drawings, I was very encouraged.

Q: Was there a general theme in your early paintings?
HNJ: Capturing the movement and moods of stampeding herds of animals provided me with the perfect excuse to express myself freely through the use of line and loose brushstrokes.

Q: Your work is often compared to that of Irma Stern – which artists have had the greatest stylistic influence on your paintings?
HNJ: The only comparison I believe my paintings have to those of Stern is thematic – I also enjoy painting rural African scenes and people. Stylistically my greatest influences are from the African Expressionists, Fritz Krampe and Maurice van Essche, as well as Matisse and Picasso, whose sense of abstraction guided the recent developments.

Q: What determines your subject matter?
HNJ: I need to paint what I love and get excited about. Travelling into Southern Africa always presents me with fresh and exciting material. This stimulus is critical to ensure the honest and unique character of every painting.

Q: What brought about the latest stylistic development in your painting?
HNJ: I believe that it is suicidal for any artist to stagnate. Through abstraction and stylisation I strive to capture the essence of any subject – as the Rock Artists managed so successfully long before me.

Now, we’ll let the work speak for itself.

Johans Borman
May 2006

To view the paintings exhibited click here
To view the Hennie Niemann Jnr page click here
To view the Artist’s CV click here

© Johans Borman Fine Art