Born: 1862, Driebergen, Holland
Died: 1962, Pretoria, South Africa
Anton Van Wouw was born in Driebergen, Holland and then moved with his family to Rotterdam
in 1864. In 1874 he studied studying drawing part time at the Rotterdam Academy, but later got
interested in sculpture. In 1890 he moved to Pretoria where he worked for a gunsmith. He also taught
drawing and painting after hours. He later obtained work making decorative mural mouldings as well as
drawing press cartoons and caricatures. He also became friends with Frans Oerder and together they
were commissioned to provide mural landscapes for the reception hall for the opening of the PTA-LM
After 10 years in Pretoria he got his first sculpture commission, this was from financier Sammy Marks. It
was to make the monumental statue of Paul Kruger which stands on Church Square in Pretoria. During
his time in the wilderness he developed an admiration for the Boer nation. This had a great influence on
his artistic development and style.
A great deal of his work captured the rugged lifestyle of the Boers in those times. One of his most
notable pieces is the “Women’s Monument” near Bloemfontein. He was also responsible for a less
successful figure of a woman incorporated into the Voortrekker Monument, near Pretoria, a powerful
bust of Genl Christiaan De Wet and the statue of Louis Botha in Durban. Along with that he also
portrayed indigenous people among smaller works. In 1938 he completed his last commission, “Women
and Children” , honoring the role of the women in the Great Trek. This sculpture is located at the base of
the Voortrekker Monument and stands 4.1 metres tall and weighs 2.5 tons.
- Artist CV
- Art Education
- - 1974- : Rotterdam Academy, part-time studies in drawing, but later interest in sculp-ture; some study under Josef Grave.
- Short Artist Biography
- - 1864: family moved fo Rotterdam, where Anton Van Wouw was educated.
- - 1890: Anton Van Wouw came to Pretoria; worked for a gunsmith; taught drawing and painting after hours; later obtained work making decorative mural mouldings (first commission for Edmund Bourke who later became first mayor of Pretoria): also drew press cartoons and caricatures; friendly with Frans Oerder; with him, was commissioned to provide mural landscapes for the reception-hall on occasion of the opening of the Pta-LM railway line.
- - 1896: a commission from Sammy Marks for a statue of Paul Kruger set him on his feet; his first wife (a sister of Jan Celliers) died in Rome while he was working there on the sculpture.
- - 1899: Anton Van Wouw returned to South Africa. There followed a long successful career in sculpture, which included numerous official commissions for portrait and monumental bronzes, as well as the many celebrated small bronze studies of Boer, Bantu and Bushmen figures.
- - 1908: Anton Van Wouw moved to Johannesburg, where he remained for thirty years.
- - 1910: Anton Van Wouw designed first cover of `Die Brandwag'; member of South African Akademie.
- - 1916: married for a second time to a sister-in-law of Pres Reitz.
- - 1925: the statue of Pres Kruger was unveiled in Pretoria, (moved in 1954 to Church Square). Commenced work on historical frieze for facade of Jhb Railway Station.
- - 1936: Anton Van Wouw awarded Hon Doctorate by University of Pretoria.
- - 1937: Anton Van Wouw awarded Medal of Honour for Sculpture by South African Akademie.
- - 1938: Anton Van Wouw moved to Pretoria; worked on figure group for Voortrekker Monument.
- Public Art Collections
- Represented by sculpture in most South African Galleries; paintings in William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberley; drawings in Bloemfontein War Museum; Africana Museum, Johannesburg.