Krige, Francois (1913 – 1994)
Francois Krige was born in Uniondale in the Cape Province. Krige was the brother of the celebrated writer, Uys
Krige. Francois Krige was regarded in his youth as a golden boy of South African painting. He was undoubtedly an
able talent, his draughtsmanship was both sensitive and powerful, his painting fresh and unfettered by academic
Early in his career, Krige was awarded the medal of honour for painting and graphic art by the South African
Academy for Science and Arts in 1949. Despite this recognition he shied away from the art community, but
few who have encountered Krige´s beautiful and evocative paintings celebrating the fauna, flora and people of
southern Africa will disagree that he deserves wider recognition. Little is known and even less written about this
retiring artist. Son of Japie Uys, the legendary rugby centre, and Sannie, the novelist, and brother to the poet Uys
Krige, Francois distanced himself from both the limelight and his famous and perhaps overpowering family to
pursue his art in relative isolation.
Other fascinating periods in his career included sketching Allied operations in the Western Desert and Italy
during the Second World War; hiking alone in the Himalayas; and journeying to the Kalahari to live with the !
Kung Bushmen and record their lifestyle in elegant drawings which were later used as inspiration for Gauguin-like
paintings. Although Krige´s drawings are known and admired, his paintings were not exposed to the public other
than to a small circle of art lovers.
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