Hugo Naudé: Badsberg, Slanghoek Mountains
Badsberg, Slanghoek Mountains - 1906
Oil on canvas
46 x 61,5 cm
Signed and dated bottom left
Born Pieter Hugo Naudé, 23 July 1869, Aan-de-Doorns, Worcester
Died 5 April 1941 at the age of 71, Worcester
Born and raised in the Boland town of Worcester, Hugo Naudé became South Africa’s first full-time, professional artist. He received his formal art education at the Slade School of Fine Art in London (1889 - 1890) and the Kunst Akademie in Munich (1890 – 1894), and spent a year amongst the Barbizon painters in Fontainebleau near Paris.
Hugo Naudé’s sincerity as a man and his integrity as an artist, evident throughout his oeuvre, reflect his submission to the attraction of nature and the Southern African landscape. After his European training, Naudé had to adapt to the sunlit brilliance of the African landscape and, as plein airist, gradually loosen the bonds of his formal training. He pioneered a uniquely South African style, ‘Cape Impressionism’, in conjunction with the artists Pieter Wenning, Nita Spilhaus, Ruth Prowse and Strat Caldecott.
Applying the technical skills acquired from his formal art training, Naudé set out to portray the soul of the landscape by capturing its dramatic nature - using strong contrasts and vibrant colours to replicate the bright sunlight and arresting atmosphere. The excitement and enthusiasm generated by his direct, open-air approach, combined with his confident brushstrokes laden with individually mixed colours and the underlying sense of composition, always captured the brilliance of the scenes that inspired him.
Naudé loved going on painting expeditions to experience more of the drama that the Southern African landscape had to offer. Apart from exploring the Cape’s coast and mountains, he travelled to the Victoria Falls, the Natal Drakensberg, the rugged Transkei coast and the Knysna forests, and regularly painted the flowering spectacle of Namaqualand in spring.
Esmé Berman, Art and Artists of South Africa, Halfway House, 1996, pp 303 and 304
Adèle Naudé, Hugo Naudé, Cape Town, 1974, pp 14 and 15