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Buchner Carl

Buchner Carl

Born 1921 Somerset East, Cape Province

A painter of portraits, figures, landscapes, still life, interiors and street scenes. Worked in oil and acrylic.

Studies:  1940 – 44 Witwatersrand Technical College, under Eric Byrd, Phyllis Gardner, Elizabeth Macadam and Maurice van Essche, gaining a National Art Teachers Certificate.

Born 1921 Somerset East, Cape Province

A painter of portraits, figures, landscapes, still life, interiors and street scenes. Worked in oil and acrylic.

Studies:  1940 – 44 Witwatersrand Technical College, under Eric Byrd, Phyllis Gardner, Elizabeth Macadam and Maurice van Essche, gaining a National Art Teachers Certificate.

Profile:  An Executive member of the SAAA. 1964 Chairman of the National Committee of the SAAA. 1944-54 taught at several Transvaal schools and at the Pretoria Art Centre; 1954 Art Inspector for the Cape Education Department; 1956 Head of the P J Olivier Art Centre, Stellenbosch; 1959-70 lectured at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. For many years a Trustee of the SA National Gallery, Cape Town. 1962 an art critic for  Die Burger; also an art critic for  The Cape Times and a writer of articles on art and artists for various magazines. 1967 wrote the introduction to  Van Essche, Tafelberg, Cape Town. 1957 – 58 and 1964 study tours of Europe. 

Exhibitions:  He has participated in numerous group exhibitions in SA, Zimbabwe and Argentina; 1954 first of several solo exhibitions held in SA; 1956 and 1960 Quadrennial Exhibitions; 1982 Cape Town Triennial.

Award:  1963 Artists of Fame and Promise Award.

Represented:  Hester Rupert Art Museum,Graaff-Reinet;  Pietersburg Collection;  Pretoria Art Museum;  Rand Afrikaans University;  SA National Gallery,Cape Town;  University of the Orange Free State;  University of South Africa;  Willem Annandale Art Gallery,Lichtenburg;  William Humphreys Art Gallery,Kimberley.

In the course of his career a searching artist often bends in several directions, making classification in terms of wellknown stereotypes an arbitrary and inexact procedure. Throughout all the phases of Carl Buchner’s career , however, he has revealed himself unwaveringly as a romantic humanist. The human figure has provided the most frequently recurrent motif of his work; but even where it is absent – in still life and landscape compositions – the imprint of recent use or habitation lingers and a subtle atmosphere of nostalgia pervades the picture.  Buchner’s early paintings were consistently devoted to human subject matter. His figures were sensitively portrayed: slightly elongated forms, expressionist distortion and romantic colour usage contributing to the generally poetic effect. He made frequent use of the palette-knife, scumbling one colour over another to create textural and tonal variation in the flat colour areas which described both space and mass. In later works Buchner began to model with his brush; the previously flat application of colour was replaced by modulated strokes of juicy paint and the suggestion of three-dimensional plasticity was heightened by the elimination of his customary linear accents. He seemed to have been much influenced during his 1957-58 tour of  Europe by the contemporary Italian School, particularly Morandi; and, in common with the latter, he gave most of his attention to still-life during the period which followed. Also like Morandi, his still-life groups, though simplified and monumentalised almost to the point of abstraction, were never merely assemblages of abstract forms: the elements remained objects, retaining their identification with humanity and the human purposes they served.

The early Sixties witnessed a phase of landscape painting and included several village scenes in the spirit of Karroo Village. Colour, by now, had lost its early saturation, but an appealing nostalgia persisted in his scenes. Carl Buchner was associated over many years, first as student, then as colleague, with Maurice van Essche. The two artists shared a natural affinity in their sympathetic view of human subjects and Buchner might have been expected to reflect more of his mentor’s influence in his initial style; but he successfully avoided manifest eclecticism. However, at various moments later in his career, the younger painter drew closer in style and subjectmatter to Van Essche  - and in so doing temporarily obscured the individuality of his personal romantic vision. Images of the tragic-comic Harlequin, portrayed so often by both artists, continued to be the best known and most popular aspects of Buchner’s work.