Jean Welz

Born: 1900, Salburg, Austria Died: 1975, Cape Town, South Africa Jean Welz originally trained as an architect in Vienna, and spent the years between 1925 – 1935 working in Paris alongside architects like Le Corbusier and Adolf Loos. During the depression between the 2 world wars, Welz immigrated to South Africa where he practiced as an architect until 1941. After contracting Tuberculosis, he and his family moved to the dry climate of the Karoo for his recuperation. Here he concentrated on painting and before long became an active exhibitor in the Cape. Welz’s drawing skills and experience at the fountainhead of modern art in Paris appear to have carried him quickly to a level of skilled sophistication in his paintings. Welz’s approach to his art is best reflected in a letter he had written to his brother, a gallery owner in Salzburg, before a 1965 exhibition. He explained that his paintings were “documents of his soul” and said that his objective was to create “painterly poems”.
 Artist CV
Art Education: Jean Welz studied art at Realschule, Salzburg; architecture under Oskar Strnad and Josef Hoffman, Vienna. Short Artist Biography: - 1925 Jean Welz moved to Paris where he worked in the architectural studio of Malet Stevens. - 1935 ill health made Jean Welz decide to emigrate to South Africa. - 1936 to 1938 Worked in the Department of Architecture, University of Wits; tuberculosis led him to settle in the dry climate of the Karoo. - 1938 to 1941 Jean Welz lived on a farm, operated a tearoom on the mountain-pass; began to paint seriously. - 1943 to 1947 First Principal of the newly established Hugo Naude Art Centre, Worcester; member of the New Group. - 1947 Jean Welz was awarded Silver Medal of South African Academy; by the end of the decade he had become one of South Africa's most admired and sought after artists. - 1950 Lived in relative seclusion, exhibiting his paintings infrequently; most of the period he commanded higher prices for his paintings than any other local living artist; Jean Welz's style developed during the fifties toward the brink of non-figuration. - 1952 Jean Welz awarded Bursary of Cape Tercent Foundation. - 1960 Designed Little Theatre, Worcester. - 1968 Jean Welz entered hospital with recurrence of his earlier illness. - 1969 Awarded Medal of Honour for Painting by South African Akademie; moved to Rondebosch, Cape Town; lived there until his death in 1975. Art Exhibitions: - 1942 First one-man exhibition, Cape Town. - 1942 onwards: South African Academy New Group Art Exhibitions. - 1948 Overseas exhibition of South African Art, Tate Gallery. - 1952 Van Riebeeck Tercent Exhibition, Cape Town; Venice Bienalle. - 1953 Rhodes Centenary Exhibition. - 1957 Sao Paulo Bienalle. - 1966 Republic Fest Exhibition, Pretoria. - 1970 Prestige Retrospective Exhibition, South African National Art Gallery and Johannesburg Art Gallery. Collections: South African National Art Gallery; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Pretoria Art Museum; William Humphreys Art Gallery; King George VI Art Gallery; Durban Art Gallery; Hester Rupert Art Museum; University of Wits; Rembrandt Art Foundation; Sandton Municipal Collection; Ann Bryant Art Gallery; UNISA, RAU, Pietersburg Collection. Jean Wenz Jean Wenz Jean Wenz