Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia/Helen Anne Petrie

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ANNE (HELEN) PETRIE 1933 – 2006Italic text

Anne, of wealthy Scottish Aristocratic Heritage and Ancestry was raised at “GLENFIRRS” Empress Street, Kensington. The only daughter of an exceptionally affluent migrant to the Cape Colony. She had 1 slightly older sibling, a brother. Anne was one of a very small, highly courageous, vastly talented and immensely dedicated group of resident Female South African Artists who just after the 2nd World War appeared on the International and South African art scene, yet never sought excessive fame or VIP celebrity status of any sort, this was not the woman she wanted to be, or ever allowed. A modest woman of substantial financial means, an exceptionally generous philanthropist, Anti-Apartheid activist and a truly brilliant artist, a true Matriarch of South African Female Artists#REDIRECT African painters of her era and generation.

International Art Critics and Art lovers alike have divergent opinions as to whether or not Anne was in fact exclusively a Portrait or Seascape painter. This one has to decide based on ones individual taste; general consensus is that her work is truly thought provoking.

Anne’s works are not one of a kind. There are those with a faithful regard for natural appearance and others that are of a far more sentimental nature. In certain cases literal interpretation might call a painting incomplete, which Anne considered finished. This authority of the background to speak for the whole is particularly obvious in some of her post depression portraits, yet, the subject being painted and the visual and spiritual force behind it are to perfection - what lies beyond does not have consequence on the soul of the moment. This was Anne’s sentiment on these works; this style can also be noted in certain portraits by Maggie Loubser to name just one.

Anne#REDIRECT could make herself strongly felt in many formats of materials ranging from watercolours, charcoal, pencil, pen, oil or others.

It is often maintained that Anne had a “portrait” outlook on life. On closer examination it appears however that the intimacy and passion of her nature scenes do not possess the self containedness of the portrait or Still life. The visible lack of movement (except the movement of water usually) in her works bear the state of desolation, loneliness and depression. One must bear in mind, however, that these feelings, which were medically diagnosed, were typical of Anne the mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually abused woman… and thus created her masterpieces of art in the true inspiration of the moment. In general the viewer may also feel her paintings may appear dominated by anxiety,sarcasm,a sense of her mental state and a kind of passionate pride which she gave free reign on many occasion to her high spirits,sensealnes and even tenderness. The casualness of her subjects, especially watercolours suited Anne exceptionally well since she was often emotionally fragile. One could easily compare certain of her works to those of Peter Wenning who like Anne used nature for the sake of artistic beauty presented by each scene, no matter how unimportant ostensibly. Her impressionism was often more based upon nuances and tonal volumes than colour which often tended to be virile yet sombre.

Anne travelled extensively during her lifetime (in many cases as a way to escape her abuser) and created a career painting portraits, landscapes and still life on private and public commission for leading International and Local Social figures, for Royal Courts of the day and for her own Private collection, amongst others.

Anne’s love for the portrayal of the unimportant or overlooked was in keeping with her sympathy for the poor, neglected. This is visible in the two extremes in Anne’s works, on the one hand the ecstasy over the beauty of things such as nature and, on the other hand the sombreness, the awareness of the inevitability of mortality… her paintings, especially portraits appear mostly to have been caught in a timeless instant, the here, the now !

She was extremely humble and in her dealings with the oppressed people of the time and generously gave some of her best works to people who approached her at home, or while painting outdoors. Impulsive, yet at the same time exceptionally endowed with idealism and alertness.

Anyone who had met Anne was told it was her great love and interest in what was happening politically in the world around her, especially the results of surviving the WW2 depression and the sense of disorganisation of the Jews released from Concentration Camps in Poland, the Apartheid regime that had come into power in South Africa, amongst other things.
These moments and visions that inspired her privately each and every day to work on what she referred to as visually illustrating the unnecessary destruction of her and every humans “Nation”. 

Introduction Biographical OverviewItalic text Her parents kept their rather comfortable “Summer House” in Fish Hoek (The “Hamptons” equivalent in USA) and were Johannesburg socialites of the day, regular guests at Admiralty House when in the Cape or attending luncheons with Count Labia. Simonstown, the neighbouring village was the Naval Headquarters for the British Navy and at that time South Africa was a jewel Colony of The Empire.

In 1938 a relative, who noted the great potential Anne had shown already at a tender age of 5, cut out an article from the Huisgenoot, a local magazine, dated 18 August, entitled” Hoekom ek skilder” (”Why I Paint”) by now renowned artist Maggie Loubser, on a particularly hot summers day while on holiday from Boarding School this article was translated from Afrikaans into English for Anne by her multilingual nanny. A diary entry records Anne was truly mesmerised at the contents and thus her eventual admiration for Maggie and passion to paint was unknowingly (or unwittingly) set.

Anne had a privileged education and completed High School with excellent results, merits and awards; she went on to study further.

During this tertiary period Anne made 2 trips to Europe touring the leading galleries of Europe, taking down some 2300 pages of handwritten notes. Florence was her favourite, then Rome. Returning to South Africa she began painting oils on her own, and with tuition soon began to lay the foundation of what was to mature distinctive into her own style. Anne felt that at the time the taste of small art-public was extremely backward and that there were too few discerning collectors and buyers, especially in South Africa, at that point still an Empire Colony.

In 1954 she spent a short period of time sitting in on lectures at the Kunsakedemie van Mechelen, Sint Niklaas and Antwerp, where she met artist Jan Vermeiren who assisted her in mastering her least favourite mediums, acrylic and pastels. During her many foreign travels especially during the early years of her life after finishing school many important people of the day sat for portraits for which she was well paid… funding further visits to galleries and the odd art class at the Byam Shaw Goldsmith’s School of Art in London and under Sickert’s (Royal Academy School) own school in Camden Town. Here she struck up a friendship with Cecil Higgs.

At the same time Anne met Mary (May) Ellen Hillhouse, who like Anne had Scottish Heritage (and acquaintance to her parents), together they consulted on what they both declared was “soul destroying commercial work” also resulting in Anne becoming (like May) an illustrator for various local and foreign companies, excelling in her graphic design for pottery, pattern design for Garlicks and Greatermans and Butterick Dress patterns, to name just a few.

At the same time she made, thanks to her Fathers intervention, occasional visits to the “Platteland” farm of Maggie Loubser father in at Klipheuwel near Malmesbury. Anne spent many hours brooding over the vision Maggie had acquired during her trip to London, so, just Like Maggie, Anne spent some time in Germany where she experienced the works of Marc and Nolde. The bud of interest, observing and consulting had slowly germinated and soon blossomed spectacularly.

In 1955 upon meeting Marjorie Wallace and husband Jan Rabie they ended up in a heated debate on politics and thus was cemented her lifelong interest in humanitarian causes in South Africa. Anne could be very opinionated and outspoken.

In 1960 Anne was infuriated by the countrywide protests, demonstrations and strikes against the Pass Laws and Police brutality in response to the anti-Pass Laws campaign that she wished to return to Scotland, her Ancestral home indefinitely. This faze passed.

In 1961 Anne spent a few weeks in private tuition with Gillian Ayres at the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham and again at St. Martin’s School of art in London. In the few surviving works by Anne of this period one can clearly note that she did not look to the raw expressionism of the New York School but to the school of Paris with its painterly cuisine and basic figuration. A year later Anne wrote to Gillian indicating that in her opinion there was still a continent left to explore in the direction of colour when it came to painting and that although proportion and balance are essential aspects to remember, both artist and viewer have to experience it. For Anne it appeared that in general amongst her British contemporaries the size of their canvass was increasing, the paint was fattening and forms were becoming more and more abstract. Though in many of Anne’s work of this period one notes disciplined serene, contenmplative work in hard-edge idioms. Her work in this faze of artistic experimentation is very much concerned with balance, harmony, tension, pleasure, movement, beauty and mental fragility. In 1965 during a brief encounter at Stellenbosch University while attending a lesson on graphic design at the department of Creative Art she briefly met Jogen Bergen and took hand written notes… describing him in her diary as a man with” limited talents”.

In 1967 Mr. Albert Wert (Then Curator of the Pretoria Art Museum) together with Matthys Bokhorst (Director of the S.A.National Gallery) enquired to Anne Petrie being willing to participate in the SANLAM Art Collection Exhibition, which at that point contained in excess of 166 works of art, she declined to participate as the collection did not possess that degree of inner unity it would have had if the collection had from the beginning been built up for the purpose of exhibition, and that the initial intention of the SANLAM collection was merely to build up a collection of attractive South African paintings and sketches to hang in the offices of the Directors and staff and to let the public only share in the collection by means of printing the paintings (Including hers) on SANLAM’S CALENDARS.

Diary entries indicate that she also declined an offer from Rembrandt Van Rijn Art Foundation to purchase her works privately. Anne did however exhibit in South Africa twice in 1967, the most important exhibition being from 30 October till 11 November at the South African Association of Artists Annual Exhibition at 63 Burg Street, Cape Town, where leading art Critic of the day, Johan van Rooyen stated her 3 works titled – Indian Girl, Bantu Boy and Late Afternoon, Kommetjie should be hailed as proving the standard that is expected at an exhibition of this calibre, which included works by fellow artists I.Roworth, S.Butler, V.Volschenk and L. Mears.

In 1971 Anne declined an invitation from Gunther van der Reis to participate in the “1971 Republic Festival Exhibition” which was organised by the S.A.Association of Artists, however decided to exhibit in Tel Aviv that year instead. Anne’s works were exhibited in the late 60’s early 70’s at various galleries in RSA where she obtained critical acclaim (often relenting and allowing a portrait or landscape to be exhibited without a credit being published on the Program), however, shy and disillusioned at the politics involved in favouritism towards Afrikaans artists, predominantly males she stopped exhibiting at most major galleries of the day, and rudely declined many invitations to sell her art to Insurance or Banking related Institutions on many occasions.

Anne noted in her personal diary in 1972 that 2 major schools of thought were apparent in the South African art world amongst contemporary artists. One, where they identified themselves with various aspects of their Social and Geographical environmental conditions. The other identify in itself with International trends which could often be related to Colonialism and the Empire environment. Both trends appeared at that time to be the natural result of a “Nation” maturing and divorcing itself from its old rural and Colonial character.

Anne felt that Nations were becoming more and more involved, inter-active and demanded greater effort from the viewer. During the 1970’s 80’s and 1990’s Anne never tried to idealise her subjects. She always strove for the accurate representation of everyday, apparently casual or overlooked subjects.

Her devotion to her art, especially during her latter years was so great that she also infected her fellow artists, resulting in anti - art people being able to view art with greater respect and admiration and she mentally and emotionally lived in many worlds. By this time Anne was mentally very fragile to the point of institutionalisation. She never managed to deal mentally with the death of her Parents.

In the Transvaal and in the Western Cape she discovered the destruction caused by the introduction of the Group Areas Act that stimulated her imagination. In In Europe; mainly Italy and Scotland she sought the dream world for which she deeply yearned. Finally, there was her own private inner world, to which very few were ever admitted, but, from which she derived her wonderful creative and inspired powers.

Of these worlds for Anne Cape Town was certainly not the most important. Anne’s works already belong to the Art history of South Africa, Royal Courts of Europe and Asia , Private Collectors and various Museums globally. Even so it meant much to her, not only because she found relief there for her bodily ills, but in the autumns and winters there she re-discovered her homeland and thus her identity. Amongst her friends, fellow artists and local Inhabitants especially the Cape Coloured and Cape Malay people Anne felt she could be who she truly felt she was, a woman who seldom made preparatory cause of her impulsive nature. This was Anne Petrie, the woman, the benefactor, the pacifist, the friend… The TRUE Matriarch of South African Female Artists

Anne’s works exhibited in the following Solo and Group ExhibitionsItalic text Anne Bryant Gallery, East London (1958),Lidchi Gallery, Durban (1962), Martin Melck Gallery, Cape Town (1963),Belgium, Paris and Scotland (1965), Gallery 21, Johannesburg, (1966),Belgium and Paris(1969) ,Israel (1971) ,Athens (1974) ,London and Paris (1976) ,Frenchmen, West Germany (1978) ,Seoul (1984) , Athens (1987) ,Norway (1989) ,New York (1994)

Private Collectors / Patrons include(d)Italic text Estate Wallace Simpson,Estate P.W. Botha,Estate John F. Kennedy,Estate David Botha,Estate Frank Sinatra,Estate Dr.Christiaan Barnard,Estate Maria Callas,Bill Clinton,Madonna,Mike Myers,David & Victoria Beckham,Mariah Carey,Carmen Elektra,James Brown,Vanessa Redgrave… to name just a few.

Various European Royal Courts owning works by Anne in their Private CollectionsItalic text Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II & H.R.H. Phillip, the Prince Consort of The United Kingdom,H.M. King Juan Carlos I & Queen Sofia of Spain,H.M. Kong Harald & H.M. Dronning Sonja of Norway,H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf & H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden,Her Majesty Queen Anne-Marie & H.R.H. Henrik, the Prince Consort of Denmark,Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan,Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands,H.R.H King Constantine & H.M. Queen Anne-Marie of Greece,H.R.H Charles, Prince of Wales & Duchess of Cornwall

Represented in the following Public National / International Collections National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo,TATE Modern, London,National Gallery, Denmark,National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo,The Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC,Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, National Gallery, Finland, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Guggenheim, Bilbao, The Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, National Portrait Gallery, London --A.o.strutt (talk) 10:26, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

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--A.o.strutt (talk) 10:26, 2 May 2009 (UTC)



  1. ^ Bonhams Auctioneers


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  1. ^ Biography on Artist, The Dream I lived