Title page for ETD etd-12072011-081616


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van der Westhuysen, Pieter Jacobus
URN etd-12072011-081616
Document Title Hennie Potgieter, volkskunstenaar (Afrikaans)
Degree Magister Artium
Department History of Art
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof A E Duffey Supervisor
Keywords
  • folk artist
  • Hennie Potgieter
  • volkskunstenaar
Date 1984-05-01
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Hennie Potgieter, born on 1 November 1916, grew up in an Afrikaans household on the Western Transvaal platteland. He studied art at the Art School of the Johannesburg Technical College during the late thirties and early forties. During this time he completed his first public commision. After completing his art studies he opened his own studio in Johannesburg.

In 1942 he was one of four salaried sculptors commissioned to do a frieze for the hall of heroes in the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria. This assignment took them five years to complete. The plaster casts, where then taken to Italy where Potgieter supervised the sculpturing of the marble replicas. He held his first one man exhibition while he was working on the frieze.

In 1949 he inditially worked independently in the Harmonie hall, Pretoria. His first public statue, "Wording" was created here. In 1951 Potgieter and his wife Bettie (nťe Roos) settled at Schoemansville, Hartbeespoort dam, where they are still living. They have two daughters. Over a period of thirty three years he completed numerous public as well as private commissions and also did many sculptures. He is deeply involved in community matters. From time to time he gets involved in newspaper polemics on matters of art.

Directly and indirectly Potgieter contributes substantially to public awareness and appreciation of South African sculpture as well as to promoting the profession of the sculptor.

Potgieter mastered the art of modelling as well as sculpture techniques and reveals in both a marked individuality. His pragmatic handling of the sculptor's technical problems is also noticeable. His compositions are noted for their simplicity and earthly quality. Stylistically his art is based on perceptual reality.

The human figure (and later especially the female nude in which the erotic plays an important part) is iconographically most important to him. However, his love for the South African fauna, and then especially the antelopes, remain a chief source of inspiration. This also demonstrates his close connection to nature and that which is dear to him. In connection with action in his art, it may be adressed as the arrested moment.

Iconologically the earthy quality of his work, and coupled to that the role of religion in his life and work, point to the traditional vertical and philosophical view of the Afrikaner. It also mirrors the man Potgieter.

Subsequently four sculptures are discussed. They will also be critically evaluated to illustrate particular and significant aspects of his work.

A variety of interpretations exists as regards the concept of "folk art". In the light of research done it is concluded that Potgieters art is indeed art of the people for the people. This art then qualifies him as a important folk artist.

AFRIKAANS : Hennie Potgieter, gebore op 1 November 1916, het opgegroei in 'n gewone Afrikaanse boeregesin van die Wes-Transvaalse platteland. Sy kunsopleiding ontvang hy in die laat dertiger- begin veertigerjare aan die Kunsskool van die Johannesburgse Tegniese Kollege. In hierdie tyd voltooi hy sy eerste openbare opdrag naamlik die panele vir die HoŽrskool Lichtenburg. Na sy opleiding open hy sy eerste ateljee in Johannesburg.

In 1942 word hy teen 'n salaris aangestel as een van die vier beeldhouers van die fries vir die heldesaal van die Voortrekkermonument in Pretoria. Vyf jaar later was die panele in gips voltooi en moes hy in ItaliŽ gaan toesig hou oor die kopiŽring daarvan in marmer. Na voltooiing hiervan moes hy ook toesig hou oor die finale installering daarvan. Sy eerste eenmanuitstalling het tydens die werkery aan die fries plaasgevind. (Junie 1945, Transvaler Boekhandel, Johannesburg)

Sedert 1949 werk hy selfstandig, aanvanklik in die Harmoniesaal, Pretoria. Hier het sy eerste openbare standbeeld, Wording, die lig gesien. In 1951 vestig hy en sy eggenote, Bettie, (gebore Roos) hulle in Schoemansville by die Hartbeespoortdam en met die skrywe hiervan woon en werk hy nog daar. Hulle is intussen met twee dogters geseŽn. Oor 'n tydperk van drie en dertig jaar het hy hier verskeie openbare beeldhouwerke uitgevoer, talle privaatopdragte ontvang en 'n groot hoeveelheid vrye werke voltooi. Deurgaans word sy lewe gekenmerk deur 'n betrokkenheid en meelewing met sy gemeenskap asook periodieke betrokkenheid in kunspolemieke in die pers.

Direk en indirek lewer Potgieter 'n belangrike bydrae om die Suid-Afrikaanse publiek beeldhoubewus te maak. In meer as een opsig lewer hy ook bydraes ter bevordering en uitbouing van die beeldhouberoep.

Hennie is tuis in die boetseer- sowel as die beeldhoutegnieke. In beide openbaar hy egter 'n kenmerkende eie benadering. Tekenend is ook 'n pragmatiese hantering van die beeldhouer se tegniese probleme. Sy komposisies spreek van 'n treffende eenvoud en dit toon 'n sterk aardsgebonde neiging. Stilisties gesien is sy kuns gesetel in die herkenbare werklikheid.

Ikonografies is die mensfiguur en later veral die vrouenaakfiguur die belangrikste en die erotiese speel hier Ďn rol. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Fauna en veral die wildsboksoorte bly egter van sy geliefde onderwerpe en demonstreer sy verknogtheid aan die natuur en die eie. Met betrekking tot aksie kan sy kuns 'n kuns van bevrore oomblikke genoem word.

Ikonologies dui sy werk se aardsgebondheid gepaardgaande met die rol wat die religieuse speel op die tradisionele vertikale lewens-en-wÍreldbeskouing van die Afrikaner. Dit weerspieŽl dan ook die mens, Hennie Potgieter.

Vervolgens word die beeldhouwerke Ruiterbeeld van Generaal De la Rey, Andromeda, Jeug en Trapsuutjies (1980) in besonderhede en krities geŽvalueer om sodoende kenmerkende tegniese en betekenisaangeleenthede te illustreer.

'n Verskeidenheid vertolkings bestaan oor die begrip "volkskuns". In die lig van 'n verantwoordbare vertolking daarvan word tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat Potgieter se kuns van die volk vir die volk is en dat hy as volkskunstenaar van belang kwalifiseer.

Ďn Katalogus van 'n groot hoeveelheid van Potgieter se beelde is saamgestel.

Copyright © 1984, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Van der Westhuysen, PJ, 1984, Hennie Potgieter, volkskunstenaar, Magister Artium dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/ etd-12072011-081616/>

E11/9/332/hj

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