Pierneef’s Hand

By Marc Alexander from his ‘Touch’ exhibition. ‘Pierneef’s Hand‘, Pencil on 300g Archival Paper, 10cm by 14cm, (2013).

Pierneef’s Hand

Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef was born on 13 August 1886 in Pretoria from Dutch parents. Pierneef started his high school career at the Staatsmodelschool in Pretoria and it was here that he started his art classes.
With the war of 1900 between the Boers and the English, the Pierneef family decided to move back to the Netherlands in 1901 where Hendrik continued his schooling. This experience brought Pierneef into contact with the works of the old masters and it had a lasting impression on him. He studied part-time at the Rotterdamse Kunsakademie. He was a changed man when he returned to South Africa at the age of 18. Back in Pretoria the young artist crossed paths with other already established artists like Anton van Wouw, Hugo Naude, Frans Oerder, and also the Irish artist George Smithard who played an important role in the teaching of the graphic mediums like etching- and linocuts.
It was only in 1902 that Pierneef showed his works on an exhibition for the first time. It was a group exhibition with Anton van Wouw and Hugo Naude and was visited by various well-known personalities. It was of great comfort to the young aspiring artist to hear good comments from the public.
Pierneef married Agatha Delen a woman 12 years his senior against all advice from both families on 16 February 1910. Pierneef was 23 and his new bride was 35years old. He worked at the State Library at night and during the day he painted in his studio.

Pierneef is today one of South Africa’s highest-selling artist, second only to Erma Stern. I also grew up in Pretoria so I feel a connection to this brilliant artist. Pictured here is What I imagine Pierneef would see while painting one of his masterpieces.


Touch Series

After a long season of producing portraits in oils, I returned for a while to the humble pencil. The ‘Touch’ exhibition, which opened at the Studio Gallery Kalk Bay on Friday June 14th 2013 and ran until July 3rd, was the result of that experience – a true celebration of the beauty and expressiveness of the human hand.

Several months before this show, a group of us artists got together in the studio to work on life drawings, and for me, hands are one of the most difficult parts of the human body to draw, so I decided to master this challenge by producing one hundred detailed drawings. Friends, family and even casual acquaintances, modeled their hands for me and in each drawing I tried to capture the unique character of each individual.

A great deal could be learned about a person just by observing their hands. For example, the slight hand gestures of a person in love, or the anxious mannerisms of the addicted smoker clutching his last cigarette, or the telltale scars and callouses which belong to a hard working laborer. The hands are young and old, lined and smooth and endlessly expressive and tell a hundred stories which are all captured in my hyper-realistic style.


Archival Prints

Many of Marc’s artworks are available as fine art digital prints. Professionally photographed and printed on large format inkjet printers, these prints are limited edition numbered bottom left and signed bottom right. The paper used is 320g Hahnemuhle archival watercolour paper or Van Gogh cotton canvas. The process employs fade resistant, archival inks, which boast a 100+ year fade-proof guarantee.

These prints are also available in varying sizes. The paper prints are sold plastic wrapped on an acid-free foamcore backing board. The prints on canvas can be provided stretched or rolled in a core for easy transporting. The canvas print is treated with a high quality scratch resistant matt art-sealant. Directly behind the stretched canvas print is a fixed board which gives the frame rigidity, prevents warping and ensures the frame hangs flush against the wall. Large frames are cross braced to further prevent warping.



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