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Stanley Pinker’s Legacy

Stanley Pinker has been described as a wonderful teacher and great artist. In some admirers’ books he was a magnificent man; yet  intensely private. He was of Namibian descent and spent much time in Europe before making his way to Cape Town.

Stanley Pinker started painting at the age of 18 and went on to distinguish himself as an accomplished artist before entering his role as teacher of art. In 1969, after a stint in Europe, he returned home to take up a position at Michaelis School of Fine Arts. Throughout his career he managed to paint and lecture, even putting brush to canvas up until the time of his death in 2012.

He had the typical pedigree of a teacher and shared a passion for art with his students. One of his students was the now well-known Marlene Dumas to who he once wrote in a postcard, “My poor child, you are doomed to be a painter.” In her he recognised the same compulsion that drove his own life. Another well known South African on the art scene was curator Andrew Lambrecht who said, “Pinker had an immense impact on a generation of artists he taught.” He was an important South African artist whose influence as a mentor and guide could be the greater legacy.

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(Photo Credit:

Stanley Pinker’s art contributed greatly to the Cape Town art scene. His ability to create new art during a time when his peers were struggling to marry modernist teachings to African landscapes, made him a bright light on the South African stage; something for which he is dearly remembered.