Friday, 10 April 2009

IN MEMORIAM: CECIL SKOTNES 1926-2009

Source: Goodman Gallery Newsletter

Cecil Skotnes, supreme South African artist whose pioneering African modernism inspired many of this country's leading artists, died after a short illness at the age of 82.

He gained honorary degrees from Rhodes University, the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town. He exhibited prolifically both locally and internationally, including representing South Africa many times at the prestigious Venice and São Paulo Biennales. His countless awards for art include the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold).

As a young man he saw service in the South African Army's Italian Campaign. He ended up in Florence where he remained after the Allies' victory to study painting under Heinrich Steiner. On returning to South Africa he completed a BA Fine Arts at the University of Witwatersrand.

His experience of war and subsequent exposure to the magnificence of Italian Renaissance art must have forever shaped his passions for beauty, justice, good wine, generosity of spirit and hospitality. These values guided a full life that touched many.

His prolific multi-media output includes prints, paintings, incised painted woodblocks, sgraffito murals and commissioned works in seminaries and churches.

It is safe to say that no single artist influenced late twentieth century South African art as profoundly as he. Besides being active as an artist, it was as an educator that he freed the creative spirit of many oppressed during the height of apartheid.

He is survived by his wife Thelma, son John and daughter Pippa.

A memorial service will be held at Iziko South African National Gallery in the Gardens, Cape Town at 2.30 for 3.00 on Tuesday 14 April. Parking will be available at Cape Town High School (entrance in Hatfield Street).

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10 February 2010 at 07:41  
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3 March 2010 at 10:25  

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