Johannes Meintjes Collection
Johannes Meintjes was born 1923 in Riversdale. He was an artist and a writer and studied art under Florence Zerffi-Caldecott when he moved to Cape Town with his family as a young boy. From 1941-1943 he studied a BA degree in languages at the University of Cape Town and on his completion he wrote a book on Maggie Laubser, whom he had befriended in 1940 after seeing an exhibition of her work (Berman, 1979:196). His first exhibition was held in Johannesburg in 1944 when he was 21 years old and it made quite an impression. He had a follow-up exhibition in Cape Town which was just as successful (Meintjes, 2010:1). After World War 2 Meintjes travelled to England on a troopship, the Aquitania. His first art museum visit was at the Victoria and Albert Museum where he viewed the Picasso and Matisse exhibitions. While in London, he worked part-time for BBC with Arnold van Wyk and in 1947 returned to Cape Town. Here he focused on his painting, broadcasting and writing. According to Berman (1979: 197) his paintings were received with warmth, because his approach was “blatantly non-conformist” and his style was influenced by artists who were far from being heroes to the general public. Florence Zerffi with her forceful teaching which impressed in him discipline, Irma Stern with her colour sense and Maggie Laubser’s composition. Even though the influences came through in artworks, they were brought to a personal and more romantic vision and it was this quality which attracted the viewers. References: Berman, E. 1979. Art and Artists of South Africa. A.A.Balkema: Cape Town;Meintjies, J. 2010. Johannes Meintjies: London Diaries. SunMedia: Stellenbosch; Meintjies, J. 1963. Jeugjare: 1923-1940. Bamboesberg-Uitgewers: Molteno.
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