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Irmin Henkel - South African Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Irmin Henkel (1921 - 1977)

Irmin Henkel was born in Renburg, nr Hanover, Germany 1921 - 1977

Art Education
- 1939 – 1946 Irmin Henkel studied medicine, during and after service in the German army (practicing orthopedic surgeon), Largely self-taught in art.

Short Artist Biography
- 1939 – 1945 Irmin Henkel drew and painted as a hobby between study and military service; in 1943 he helped to arrange an exhibition of paintings by medical students in Bonn. First portrait commissions.
- 1947 – 1951 After one year of medical practice, Irmin Henkel switched to fulltime painting; mainly abstract.
- 1948 – 1951 He lived in Ascona, Switzerland; influenced by the work of Schmidt-Rotluff to resume landscape-painting.
- 1951 He settled in South Africa; commissioned to paint portrait of Prime Minister Dr DF Malan; this was followed by numerous portrait commissions.
- 1953 Irmin Henkel obtained a South African medical degree and commenced practice in Pretoria.
- 1966 Irmin Henkel designed the Verwoerd Memorial Stamps.
- 1969 Completed large commissioned canvas depicting the South African Cabinet of 1961 (the year that South Africa became a Republic); the painting hangs in the dining-room of the House of Assembly, with Roworth’s National Convention
- 1970 Irmin Henkel regarded almost as official “court portraitist” to South African Government, began to seek diversion from the severity of exclusive portrait work” in still-life, nude and landscape themes. Prior to his sudden death, he had reduced his medical work to a minimum and was virtually a fulltime painter.

Art Exhibitions
- 1946 First one-man art exhibition, Bonn.
- 1951 First South African one-man art exhibition, Pretoria.
- 1952 Van Riebeeck Tercent Art Exhibition, Cape Town.
- 1960 Second Quad of South African Art.
- 1966 Republic Festival Exhibition, Pretoria; prestige exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum.
- 1977 “The Art of the Portrait”, Pretoria Art Museum.
- 1978 memorial Tribute, Pretoria Art Museum.

Public Art collections
Pretoria Art Museum; Pietersburg Collection.

Berman, E. 1994. Art & Artists of South Africa . Southern Book Publishers.

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