Stephan Ampenberger

(1908 – 1983)

Stefan Ampenberger began painting at home in Bavaria as a youth. Adventurous and restless, he wandered widely on foot and by sea until he came to South Africa in 1926. When he settled in South Africa he met JH Amschewitz in Johannesburg, where he received guidance. He travelled the countryside by caravan for 17 years, sketching and exhibiting alongside his wife, Iris Ampenberger. In 1964 he finally settled in Thaba ‘Nchu. Ampenberger is primarily concerned with landscape, occasionally figures intrude upon the scene, but they are incidental to the sweeping rhythms of clustered vegetation and the geophysical formation of the land. His technique is bold, paint is applied in broad, juicy strokes, and natural features are casually defined. There is a kind of restless, expressionist bravura about Ampenberger’s paintings and an absence of detail, which stamps then as modern. During the early 70’s, the browns and greens of Ampenberger’s former canvases gave way to intensified chromatic colour. Reference; Esme Berman – Art & Artists of South Africa
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Born in Munich, Germany, 1908 – Died 1983 No formal art training except a few art lessons under JH Amshewitz. - Stefan Ampenberger began painting at home in Bavaria as a youth. Adventurous and restless, he wandered widely on foot and by sea until he came to Southern Africa. - 1926 Stefan Ampenberger settled in South Africa, met Amshewitz in Johannesburg; modelled for the painter and received guidance in his own amateur painting. Subsequently Stefan Ampenberger traveled the countryside by caravan for 17 years, sketching and exhibiting alongside his wife, Iris. - 1964 Finally settled at Thaba ‘Nchu. Guest member of the Bloemfontein Group; - 1968 Stefan Ampenberger sixtieth birthday retrospective art exhibition, Bloemfontein Tech; - 1972 Executed relief mural panels in cement to Iris Ampenberger’s designs Moroko Hospital, Thaba ‘Nchu; (had at one time carried out a fair amount of sculpture in cement, wonderstone and wood, but preferred to concentrate on painting). - 1978 Seventieth Birthday Retrospective Art Exhibition, Nasional Museum Bloemfontein; - 1980 Stefan Ampenberger lost use of his legs through illness, but continued active life and painting from a wheel-chair. Art Exhibitions Group-shows al over South Africa, including Bloemfontein Group exhibitions; - 1964 Third Quad of South African Art; - 1966 Rep Fest Art Exhibition, Pretoria; ‘The Bloemfontein Group’, South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town; - 1967 One-man art exhibition, Port Elizabeth Public Art Collections South Africa Nasional Gallery, Cape Town; William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley; AC White Art Gallery, Bloemfontein; Pretoria Art Museum.