The Johannesburg Station Panels

Pierneef’s Journey

8 February 2020 - 31 October 2021

  • The Johannesburg Station Panels

Artist JH Pierneef’s most acclaimed public commission was completed between 1929 and 1932. The Johannesburg Station Panels have been characterised as the epitome of the South African landscape genre. Since 2002 the complete set of thirty two panels – twenty eight landscape and four tree scenes, is on long term loan from the TRANSNET Foundation to the Rupert Art Foundation and have also been exhibited in the Jan Rupert Centre in Graaff-Reinet.

As a well-traveled artist exploring the depths and culture of his home country as early as 1903, the work of JH Pierneef depicts a combination of four main subjects or themes – Clouds, Mountains, Trees and Architecture. The artist explores both options of individual isolated studies or a combination of chosen themes, both approaches results in intriguing monumental scenes captivating the viewers gaze.

As a struggling artist between 1911 and 1928, Pierneef would become one of South Africa’s earliest printmakers. The term ‘graphic artist’ is even more suitable with various accomplished carved designs for book covers, newspaper banners, illustrations and exhibition posters. The medium of one colour relief printing lends itself to various possibilities of mass production, it is indeed the quick turnaround and production time that made linocuts so attractive to Pierneef and print media.

This exhibition pairs up a selection of Pierneef’s graphic oeuvre with his acclaimed public commission – The Johannesburg Station Panels, inviting the viewer to explore the artist’s sensitive use of perspective, scale, line work and composition.

*please note that The Johannesburg Station Panels will remain on exhibition after 31 October, the collection is scheduled for a new rotation and interpretation every 6 months.

We have created a virtual walk through of this exhibition which you can view here.