Hennie Niemann Jnr


(Composed by J Durandt- with acknowledgement to Johans Bornman)


It is such a joy and a privilege to witness any creative process where talent, skill and conceptual ingenuity are applied to produce a unique result that captures our minds and emotions. Art lovers will all agree that it is the mystery of this process and the intrigue of its emotional and psychological impact that provides the excitement and fascination which keeps us coming back for more.


Johans Bornman Fine Art Gallery promoted this very talented painter and well grounded young man’s work for the past 15 years. Hennie’s focus on quality and his commitment to a sustainable long term strategy regarding his output and pricing has served him well. At present, a Niemann Jnr painting normally sells for much more at an auction than in any gallery - a phenomenon almost unheard of in the South African contemporary art scene. However, this is only indicative of the desirability of his work, as the true test of success lies in the quality of the paintings and the growth he has shown as an artist. Fortunately, Hennie has always chosen a style and subject matter that he finds exciting and inspirational at any given time thus avoiding the pitfalls of a repetitive commercially oriented strategy. Stylistically, he has developed from an early earthy, expressive Fritz Krampe influence in his energetic wildlife studies, to a much more stylized style influenced by Van Essche and Picasso, to his current Fauvist inspired approach. The positive aspect throughout his development has been the establishment of his distinctive style and technique, irrespective of subject matter, which underpins the uniqueness of his oils.


Inspired by a trip to Spain, he has offered us a change of subject matter in the bulk of the paintings selected for the 2009 exhibition. Hennie’s 2006 solo exhibition focused primarily on the African people he encountered on his travels through Southern Africa, but his focus has now shifted to dark haired Catalonian girls in vibrantly colorful interiors, and local variations on this theme. The overriding impression communicated in this set of paintings is that of a very bold approach where the mark-making and palette generates drama and excitement beyond the sultry moods of his mysterious models.


In the work The Family the artist skillfully combines a blend of strong and pastille colors which impart a sense of tranquility and contentment in the young parents. The red signifies the strong emotive bond between the family. The family circle is portrayed with tenderness and adoration for the young arrival. The work is skillfully segmented into three parts and together with strong cubistic influences manages to encapsulate the essence of family.


In the work Letter from home the artist once again combines the use of strong and pastille shades to portray the emotions experienced by the young couple in reading the letter. The man embraces the girl in a loving and protective manner while holding the letter leaving the viewer guessing as to the contend of the letter. In typical Cape impressionistic style the artist has used the thick black outline to accentuate the colors used.

All art lovers are invited to indulge themselves in this feast of colour and the passionate display of technical mastery.



1972 - Born in Bloemfontein to Magriet and Hennie Niemann.

1980 - 1989 - Moves to Vermont where he is introduced to art at a very early age. Under the tuition of his artist father Hennie Niemann Snr. and Gregoire Boonzaier, he begins sketching in bistre.

1990 - After matriculating from Hermanus High School, Hennie’s military service affords him a year in the Kruger National Park. It is here, surrounded by bushveld, that his love of nature and wildlife is nurtured.

1991 - 1992 - Drawing on this new found source of inspiration, Hennie returns to Vermont and starts his artistic career. His bistre sketches and expressionistic oils reflects his intense affinity with the interactions of the wild.

1993 - His first exhibition of drawings was a sell-out.

1994 - 1996 - Meets Angela Key who shares his passion for painting and wildlife. Together they set up a permanent studio in Vermont from where they make frequent safaris and visit many game parks and nature reserves throughout Southern Africa, resulting in a highly successful exhibition of their works at the Onrus Gallery in September 1996.

1997 - Exhibition with Angela Key at The Cherie de Villiers Fine Art Gallery, Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Donated a painting to a WWF auction for the protection of endangered species.

1998 - Exhibition at Onrus Gallery at the Marine, Hermanus.

2000 - ‘Triptych’ Exhibition with Angela Key and Wehrner Lemmer at Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery, Cape Town.

2002 - Travels to Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia to collect reference material for paintings. Invited to show at the ‘Exhibition of Contemporary South African Art’ in Chelsea, London where his paintings sold out.

2002 - 2005 - Participates in group exhibitions at Stellenbosch Art Gallery and Art and Wine gallery, Clarens.

2003 - ‘Triptych’ Exhibition with Angela Key and Jaco Sieberhagen at Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery, Cape Town.

2006 - First solo exhibition of oil paintings at Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery, Cape Town.

2008  - Solo exhibition at Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery, Cape Town

2009 - ‘Art that inspires’ Anniversary exhibition at Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery, Cape Town.