Frans Oerder: “The Decorator”

Frans David Oerder is another South African painter in a long line of great artists to come from the Southern tip of Africa. In Oerder’s case his contribution is visible in both his art and the learnings that he could pass on to other artists.

Frans Oerder Art Frans was born in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam in 1867. His father, Johannes Carolus Oerder, was a municipal worker who also had seven other children. As is often the case, a career as an artist was not the career choice that Oerder senior would have made for his son. However he was willing to compromise and allowed Frans to train as a decorator.

In 1880 he enrolled at the Rotterdam academy of art where he eventually completed his training as an art decorator by 1885, one year prior to the actual end date of his course. His efforts did not go unnoticed and he became a very worthy recipient of the King William III gold medal and bursary. This accolade presented the new graduate with more opportunities. Things were going well for this new aspiring artist.

Frans Oerder embarked on travels to Italy followed by a move to Brussels to study at Ernest Blanc-Garin’s newly formed art academy. This move provided him one of his last opportunities at formal education before embarking on the balancing act of being a professional artist and putting food on the table.

His next step was moving to South Africa, literally the other side of the world. This would become his new home and while his experience of life as an artist had started in his homeland he would now have new challenges to face.

Pierneef: The Unfolding (1)

With the subsiding of the Second Anglo-Boer War, the Pierneef family returned from Holland to South Africa. (Read about Pierneef’s intriguingly formative years here.)
Whilst the 18 year old Pierneef had firmly set his sights and heart on studying architecture at university, the financial upheaval of returning from Europe and the unexpectedly exhorbitant resettling costs paralysed his father financially, and Pierneef was forced to take up work.
Pierneef’s godfather was none other than the acclaimed sculptor, Anton van Wouw – who had, like his godson, studied fine art at the Rotterdam Art Academy. The well-connected van Wouw was determined to see Pierneef succeed as an established artist, and lent him his whole-hearted support, knowledge and connections. And with this specialised support and his trademark tenacity, Pierneef made his impressive first mark on the South African art world in a group exhibition alongside his godfather and Hugo Naude.

Photographs of Anton van Wouw and Shangaan sculpture

Van Wouw organised for Pierneef to study under the brilliant Frans Oerder, a friend and colleague. Following his three years under Oerder, the Irish artist, George Smithard taught Pierneef the printmaking disciplines of wood engraving and etching – and imbuing him with a rich understanding of graphic design.
And so, with his richly diverse art education,  immense skill-set and undeniable natural talent, Pierneef built upon this foundation a career which has earned him worldwide acclaim and continued attention.
READ MORE next time about how his fine art career unfolded across the decades, encountering everything from petty jealousy to global applause!
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Exhibition: ‘Life, Distilled.’

This exhibition is about LIFE itself:

its emotions, memories and happenings,

distilled into a single moment: captured on canvas, by lens, in wood.

Life, Distilled - an exhibition of South African art by Absolut Art Gallery

ARTISTS:
Roberts Hodgins | Frans Oerder | Tinus de Jongh | J. E. A. Volschenk | Piet van Heerden | Adriaan Boshoff | Pieter Bauermeister | Edward Roworth | Lisa Roberts | Robert Gwelo Goodman | Louis Maqhubela | Sydney Kumalo | Thijs Nel | Daniel Rakgoathe | Nat Mokgosi | Erik Laubscher | Zakkie Eloff | Stanley Pinker


Each of us experiences life in an indelibly unique way – and we capture and communicate our experiences just as uniquely. Some capture experiences in paint, photographs or penned words on paper, distilling life down to the most absolute essence. For some it is a moment of exquisite joy they capture. For others, despair and disappointment. For some, they ask questions about life and its meaning – while for others again, their distillations of life attempt an answer.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” ~ Cesare Pavese

Life, Distilled seeks to shift your gaze away from the constant clutter of our lives, and block out the noise so our ears can hear our own true heartbeat. Each work presented is an opportunity to leave the toil and hassle behind you and return to simplicity, purity and clarity.

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