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Jan Ernst Abraham Volschenk - South African Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Jan Ernst Abraham Volschenk (1862 - 1945)

Jan Ernst Abraham Volschenk was born in Riversdale district, South Africa 1853 - 1936

Art Education
No formal art studies

Short Artist Biography
Born of Dutch parentage on the farm `Melkhoutskraal'. The Government Land Surveyor, James Reitz, observed Jan Volschenk drawing on the farm; mentioned him to his brother Gysbert, a Riversdale lawyer, who persuaded his parents to send him to school in Riversdale; Jan Volschenk later joined the firm of Reitz & Versfeld as a bookkeeper; continued painting in his spare time.
1879: Jan Volschenk wrote to SAFAA to enquire about exhibiting in Cape Town; submitted four works.
1893: Jan Volschenk accompanied the Reitz family to Europe; stimulated by visits to art galleries.
1894: on his return Jan Volschenk joined the South African Drawing Club; exhibited with them.
1899: Jan Volschenk married Helen Smalberger of Riversdale; nine daughters, one of whom, Vera Volschenk, followed in his footsteps.
1904: at the age of 51 gave up his professional work as an accountant and turned his full attention to painting; Jan Volschenk joined the South African Society of Artists; concentrated on the surrounding landscape - the aloes and the Langeberg range; exceptionally observant and painstaking as a painter and as a naturalist -- renowned for his collection of 4 000 different specimens of beetles; interested in heraldry; Jan Volschenk designed decorations for festive events in Riversdale. Rarely exhibited, but works found a wide market; promoted by Ernest Lezard of Johannesburg; helped to popularize art in South Africa.
1936: Jan Volschenk suffered a stroke and died in Riversdale. Several works reproduced by E Schweikerdt (Pty) Ltd.

Art Exhibitions
1924: South African Art, Empire Exhibition, Wembley.
1945: Memorial Exhibition, South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
1953: Rhodes Centenary Exhibition, Bulawavo;
1957: `Founders of Painting at Cape since 1857', South African National Gallery, Cape Town.

Public Art Collections
South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Pretoria Art Museum; Durban Art Gallery; William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberley; AC White Gallery, Bloemfontein; Albany Museum, Grahamstown.


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

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