Durban artist, Marianne Meijer, is celebrating the works of Dutch artist, Rembrandt van Rijn in the solo exhibition, Rembrandt – A love affair, at the Rivertown Gallery.
Running until July 5, the exhibition also launches a new Durban Art Gallery exhibition space housed in a newly renovated section of the historic Durban Beer Hall in Florence Nzama Road (formerly Prince Alfred Street).
Lately the world has seen a blossoming of artists over the age of 80.
Eighty-six-year-old Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, was voted as showing the world’s most popular exhibition in 2014. Matisse invented his paper cut-outs in his eighties and Louise Bourgeois and Georgia O’Keefe continued working until they were 98.
Meijer, Durban’s doyenne of the arts, turned 80 on May 2, joining an illustrious group of people who don’t grow old, they just grow better.
Says Ben Brophy: “Her artistic career continues to develop and chart new territory.
“It’s difficult to think of any one other than Marianne who has had such a strong impact on Durban’s art community. She has consistently promoted, defended, encouraged and kept alive the arts in Durban in a manner which has been both generous and brave.
Marianne has had five solo shows since her arrival in Durban during the 1970s.
She did not study art formally but qualified as a nurse and while her children were young she ran a swimming school from home.
She was married for some 40 years to Sjoerd Meijer, a highly respected arts journalist and arts editor of the Daily News. He sparked Meijer’s initial interest in arts journalism which later developed into her passion for painting.
Speaking about her love affair with Rembrandt, she says: “As a young person growing up in Amsterdam I was continually being told how great Rembrandt was and we visited museums regularly mainly to see the Rembrandts which were the pride of Dutch heritage.
“The Night Watch was a great attraction but so were his portraits. However for most of my life I have made paintings inspired by the things around me — the sea, feminism, still lifes, portraits of friends.”
With this exhibition, however, she returns to her roots. Meijer has spent the last three years analysing and deconstructing Rembrandt’s portraits by using pictures in books and visiting international museums in a quest to find out just what is that makes him a great painter.
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