Jacob Hendrik Pierneef


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Status, price and estimate for the artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef

Price of a painting: 1,000 – 300,000 €.

Estimate of a print: 200 – 7,000 €.

Price of a drawing and watercolour: 500 – 25,000 €.

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A life between Africa and Europe

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef was born in 1886 in Pretoria and died in 1957 in the same city. He is considered one of the masters of painting in South Africa.

He began his artistic education at the Staats Model School in Pretoria, but in 1901 his family decided to return to the Netherlands to escape the Second Boer War. Pierneef took drawing lessons in an architect’s office and continued his training as a painter at the Kunstakademie in Rotterdam. This first trip to Europe allowed him to discover and be inspired by the works of the old masters that he could admire in Holland and during a trip to Rome.

Returning to the homeland, a promising start to a career

Back in Pretoria at the age of 18, Jacob Hendrik Pierneef became part of an active circle of artists thanks to the influence of his godfather, the sculptor Anton van Wouw. He studied painting with Frans Oerder and took up printmaking with George Smithard.

In 1911, he presented his work in Pretoria at an exhibition of The Individualist group of which he was a founding member.

Pierneef’s first solo exhibition in 1913 was critically acclaimed. In 1917, he was elected as a member of the South African Society of Art. By the end of the 1930s, Pierneef had gained recognition from his peers and the public, for whom he embodied the spirit of independence of African culture, freed from the European yoke.

Pierneef, the great master of South African painting

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef is best known for his depictions of African landscapes. His modern, geometric style has made him famous and helped revolutionise South African art. His training allows him to move between several mediums, including printmaking, oil painting, pencil and watercolour.

Pierneef executed several public commissions, including 32 panels depicting South African towns and landscapes for Park Station in Johannesburg in 1632. He also painted murals for the South African Embassy in London.

A leading figure in African art collections, he is one of the most highly rated South African artists on the art market. One of the last sales records for a work by Pierneef was set in 2017 with a landscape, Farm Jonkershoek with Twin Peaks Beyond, Stellenbosch, 1928, sold for €1,233,5000 at auction (Strauss & co). For a painting smaller than 50 cm, expect to pay between €15,000 and €40,000, and between €40,000 and €200,000 on average for a larger oil on canvas. Watercolours are estimated at between €2,000 and €9,000, and the selling price for a drawing is between €600 and €7,000. Finally, for a lithograph or engraving, expect to pay between 500 and 2,000 euros.

Appraise and sell a painting by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef

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