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Frans Martin Claerhout (1919-2006)

Born in 1919 in Pittem, Belgium, Frans Claerhout came to South Africa as a Catholic missionary in 1946 and remained there until his death in 2006.  Initially based on the Orange Free State, Claerhout worked amongst the indigenous people of Bloemfontein, Thabanchu and his beloved Tweespruit mission station.

Coming from an artistic background but with no formal training, his career as an artist crystallized after a visit to Belgium in 1957 where he immersed himself in the museums there, returning to South Africa with renewed enthusiasm for paintings and drawing he went on to become a prolific and hugely talented artist.


He held his first solo exhibition in Johannesburg in 1961.  This is a charming study executed with the artist's characteristic fluidity verve and precision.  His work - characterized by its exaggerated forms, humor and compassion - was exhibited widely in South Africa, as well as in Belgium, Canada, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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