Herman Van Nazareth

A chance encounter with the Belgian artist, Bert de Clerck, in 1961 started Herman Van Nazareth on the road to becoming an artist. He studied for almost three years in Ghent and Antwerp before travelling to take up a bursary at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Growing up in occupied Belgium had made a deep impression on him, and the biting social commentary of his work painted soon after his arrival in South Africa was fuelled by this experience. Because of his aversion to the abuse of power and inhumanity, as well as his strong stance against supremacy, Van Nazareth was one of the very first artists to be called a protest or satirical artist in South Africa in the late 1960’s. For the past decade Van Nazareth has concentrated on sculpture and returned to a longstanding preoccupation with primordial shapes. The sculptures appeal ungraceful and ugly, giving a sense of loneliness and timelessness in a work that has become dehumanized. Despite this, the works are undeniably powerful. The rough surface conceals a sophisticated technique. Van Nazareth is not concerned with what is considered beautiful or aesthetically pleasing and consistently challenges evolving perceptions of contemporary art. His “disfigured” figures are often grouped together and placed in natural landscape settings, drawing us back to the savage reality of our origins. Herman Van Nazareth has received several awards and his work is represented in important public collections in South Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.
 Artist CV
Herman van Nazareth is renowned as both a painter and sculptor, dividing his time between Belgium and South Africa. In 1961, Van Nazareth enrolled at the Royal Academy in Ghent, Belgium followed by a year at the Royal Academy at Antwerp. He also worked as an apprentice in the studio of painter Floris Jespers. Van Nazareth came to South Africa in 1965 and studied at the Michaelis School of Art in Cape Town, focusing mostly on sculpture. His work contains influences of early Flemish expressionism and expressionist painting, evoking the work of Francis Bacon. Because of his aversion to the abuse of power and any kind of inhumanity, combined with his strong stance against supremacy and power mongers, Van Nazareth was one of the very first to be called a protest or satirical artist in South Africa in the late 1960s. For the past decade Van Nazareth has concentrated on sculpture and returned to a longstanding preoccupation with primordial human shapes. The sculptures appear ungraceful and ugly, giving a sense of loneliness and timelessness in a work that has become dehumanised. Despite this, the works are undeniably powerful. The rough, “unfinished” surface conceals a sophisticated technique. Van Nazareth is not concerned with what is considered beautiful or aesthetically pleasing and consistently challenges evolving perceptions of contemporary art. His “disfigured” figures are often grouped together and placed in natural landscape settings, drawing us back to the savage reality of our origins. Herman van Nazareth has received several awards and his work is represented in important public collections in South Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Herman Van Nazareth Herman Van Nazareth Herman Van Nazareth