Pierneef Linocuts on Exhibition

Visit the La Motte Museum to share in Pierneef’s appreciation for the natural beauty of the South African landscape – in his heritage collection as well as a new exhibition of linocuts, entitled, Mountains and Valleys.


Mountains and Valleys presents a selection of Pierneef linocuts. The old master's graphic work was an important trailblazer in the history of relief printing in South Africa and was carried on by artists such as Azaria Mbatha, John Muafangejo, Cecil Skotnes and members of the Polly Street group.

Pierneef was introduced to the basic techniques of woodcut and etching in 1907 and later used the design principles of the British Arts and Crafts movement. He produced most of his wood- and linocut prints between 1908 and 1924 but continued with graphic work up until 1933. After 1925, the characteristic styling of his prints also manifested itself in his paintings.

Pierneef’s linocuts cover various themes, from historic buildings, farmsteads, landscapes, and his beloved trees, to his well-known portrayals of majestic cloud formations rising behind houses or mountain cliffs. He applied many of his art ideas in his graphic work and his pursuit of simplified form through lines and flat surfaces is particularly evident in his linocuts.

Pierneef’s graphic work made a significant contribution to a greater awareness of the potential of wood- and linocut art in South Africa, as well as its recognition as a respected art form.

Text: Amanda Botha

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