Gregoire Boonzaier

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Malay Quarters. Oil on Canvas, 41cm x 51cm excluding frame, 77cm x 87cm including frame. Framed.

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Gregoire Johannes Boonzaier (1909 – 2005) was a South African artist well known for his landscapes, portraits and still life paintings. He was a famous exponent of Cape Impressionism, a founder of the New Group, and a contributor, through his art works, to the struggle against apartheid.

It was Moses Kottler who first gave Gregoire a box of paints in 1922 and Nita Spilhaus an easel in 1926, igniting a creative flame that was to burn for more than eighty years. Gregoire’s father was dead set against a formal training in art and felt that he had more to learn from the artists around him. In 1923 his first two oil paintings were shown at Ashbey’s Gallery in Cape Town, simply signed “GREGOIRE”. His first one-man exhibition followed two years later – he was to hold more than 100 one-man exhibitions during his painting career.

Boonzaier received three honorary doctorates. His numerous prizes and awards included the silver Order for Meritorious Service presented by Nelson Mandela in 1999. His work is to be found in private and corporate collections throughout the world.