Famous South African Painters And Their Paintings

Top 20 Famous South African Painters And Their Paintings

Discover the rich tapestry of South African art through the works of its most distinguished painters. This article presents the top 20 famous South African painters, showcasing the diversity and depth of the country's artistic heritage.

From the internationally acclaimed William Kentridge and the vibrant Esther Mahlangu to the expressive Marlene Dumas and the pioneering Gerard Sekoto, each artist offers a unique lens through which to view South Africa's complex history and vibrant contemporary culture. Their paintings, full of color, emotion, and narrative, are a testament to the enduring spirit and creativity of South Africa.

Here is a list of famous South African painters:

  1. William Kentridge
  2. Bonnie Ntshalintshali
  3. Jane Alexander
  4. Vladimir Tretchikoff
  5. Marlene Dumas
  6. Jackson Hlungwani
  7. Durant Sihlali
  8. Sue Williamson
  9. Walter Battiss
  10. Gerard Sekoto
  11. Esther Mahlangu
  12. Noria Mabasa
  13. Irma Stern
  14. Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef
  15. Penny Siopis
  16. Athi-Patra Ruga
  17. Abdoulaye Konaté
  18. George Pemba
  19. Chéri Samba
  20. Ibrahim el-Salahi


1. William Kentridge

William Kentridge

William Kentridge is South Africa's most popular and famous artist. He works with an assortment of mediums including print, painting, sculpture, and movie, his artworks have been shown at New York's MOMA and the Louver in Paris.

What influenced William Kentridge?

His enthusiasm for theater‚ÄĒexplicitly in acting ‚ÄĒinfluenced his artistic style and roused a longing to¬†combine¬†film and drawing.

Kentridge's drawings are rendered utilizing pastels and charcoal.¬†His work was further propelled and influenced by famous painters, including Honor√© Daumier (French, 1808‚Äď1879), Francisco de Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828), and William Hogarth (British, 1697-1764).¬†


2. Bonnie Ntshalintshali

Bonnie Ntshalintshali

Bonnie Ntshalintshali was conceived on Ardmore Farm in the Winterton region of KwaZulu-Natal in 1967.

She experienced polio as a young woman due to the situation, she was not strong enough to work, therefore her mother inquired her to start doing pottery.

What type of art does Bonnie Ntshalinthshali do?

In 1985, she was apprenticed to an artist named Fée. While learning fundamental fire procedures in sculpting, Bonnie's capacity in both sculpture and painting was immediately perceived, and she was urged by Fée to seek after her very own work.

In 1988 Bonnie got the Corobrik National Ceramic Award, and in 1990 she won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award mutually with Fée.

That equivalent year, 1990, she spent a term at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, concentrating under Juliet Armstrong and Ian Calder.

In 1991, Standard Bank appointed a progression of unique prints. Bonnie created a progression of unique silk-screens that were demonstrated that year at the print celebration in Grahamstown.


3. Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander

Best known for her sculpture, The Butcher Boys, which can be viewed as her reaction to the highly sensitive situation in South Africa in the late 1980s.

She makes sculptures and photomontages that are impressions of real occasions, individuals, or social and monetary issues that happen in her surroundings.

The greater part of her pieces represent the political and social view of South Africa. 

The Butcher Boys Sculpture by Jane Alexander

The Butcher Boys Sculpture by Jane Alexander

Butcher Boys is a sculpture made by South African artist Jane Alexander of three life-size, oil painted mortar figures with creature horns. The work shaped part of her MAFA accommodation and was first shown at the Market Theater Gallery in Johannesburg in 1986.


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4. Vladimir Tretchikoff

Vladimir Tretchikoff

Vladimir Tretchikoff is famous for his Chinese girl painting, famously known as 'The Green Lady', which stood out amongst other art prints that were sold during his time. 

Tretchikoff was a self-educated artist who painted sensual figures, still lifes, and creatures.

With subjects, frequently inspired by his stay in China, Singapore, and Indonesia. He worked in oil, watercolor, ink, charcoal, and pencil.

The Green Lady by Vladimir Tretchikoff

Chinese Girl is often known as The Green Lady by Vladimir Tretchikoff

The painting is of a Chinese young lady and is best known for the irregular skin tone utilized for her face‚ÄĒa blue-green shading, which gives the painting its prominent name The Green Lady.


5. Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas works investigate subjects of sexuality, love, passion, and drama, regularly referencing art history, pop culture, and current affairs.


Snowwhite in the wrong Story by Marlene Dumas

Snowwhite in the wrong Story by Marlene Dumas

Her subjects are drawn from open references. The outcomes are regularly personal and on occasion disputable, where governmental issues become sensual.


6. Jackson Hlungwani

Jackson Hlungwani

Jackson Hlungwani had no conventional preparation as an artist and figured out how to cut wood from his dad who made things for his local village.


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7. Durant Sihlali

Durant Sihlali

Durant Sihlali worked in a wide scope of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and 'mash paintings'. Sihlali demonstrated enthusiasm for art since he was a child. Inspired by his dad whose leisure activity was drawing and painting.

He created watercolor paintings of shanty-town subjects which mirrored his own situation when he was growing up under apartheid.


Durant Sihlali Mount Frere (Transkei Town Scape in Winter) by Durant Sihlali

Durant Sihlali Mount Frere (Transkei Town Scape in Winter) by Durant Sihlali


8. Sue Williamson

Sue Williamson

Sue Williamson is a Cape Town-based artist who is globally known for her work. She has spoken at numerous museums and galleries, including the Tate Modern, The Victoria, and Albert Museum, London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

She was part of South African artists who started to make art, during the 1970s which tended to represent the social change and display apartheid in South Africa.


One Hundred and Nineteen Deeds of Sale

One Hundred and Nineteen Deeds of Sale

The pieces of clothing will at that point be brought down and be sent to India, where they will be washed clean.


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9. Walter Battiss

Walter Battiss

Walter Battiss would end up being South Africa's first and most significant conceptual painter.


10. Gerard Sekoto

Gerard Sekoto

Gerard Sekoto is generally perceived as a pioneer of dark South African Art. 


11. Esther Mahlangu

Esther Mahlangu

Esther Mahlangu learned conventional Ndebele divider painting and beadwork as a youngster from her mom. 


12. Noria Mabasa

Noria Mabasa

Her work depicts the social reproach of women and children. In spite of the fact that she had no conventional art training, Mabasa's artistic skills are clearly displayed in her art.


13. Irma Stern

Irma Stern

Irma Stern was a painter and sculptor who ventured throughout Africa. She had her first exhibit appear with the assistance of German painter Max Pechstein. Her work was not generally welcomed upon display, yet in the long run, drew praise and she is now viewed as one of the main South African contemporary artists.


14. Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef

Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef

The majority of his paintings were scenes of the South African highveld. Pierneef's style utilized structures, planes, lines, and shading to introduce the amicability of nature.


15. Penny Siopis

Penny Siopis

"Siopis works in painting, film/video, photography, and installation. In the past, her work critically engaged the genres of still life and history painting. Locating her practice within a post-colonial context the artist continues to reflect on the complex intersections of collective and individual history and the construction of memory.

Her early interest in feminist aesthetics has shaped her later explorations of violence, shame, sexuality, and, more recently, grief. Conscious use of materiality as a signifier‚Äď both throughout her media and in the embodied awareness of her own process ‚Äď characterizes all Siopis‚Äôs work, whether in painting, found object installations, or film."


16. Athi-Patra Ruga

Athi-Patra Ruga

"His playful visual imagery draws from a diverse range of cultural references that are not limited to a specific biology, ancestral origin, or geographical location. The queer hybrid figures represented in Ruga’s work exist in a liminal world between the utopian dream and reality."


17. Abdoulaye Konaté

Abdoulaye Konaté

Abdoulaye Konaté's artwork investigates socio-political and ecological issues. Konaté questions the manner by which social orders and people, both in Mali and past, have been influenced by variables.

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18. George Pemba

George Pemba

In the last few years of his life, this great pioneering South African artist. Wrote

‚ÄúI do not know if ever I will become a great artist, but an artist of my own nation I surely am to be‚ÄĚ.

 Pemba received recognition from the art world and South Africans at large.


19. Chéri Samba

Chéri Samba

Samba depicts himself in much of his works and In 1975 Samba opened his very own studio. 


20. Ibrahim el-Salahi

Ibrahim el-Salahi

A pioneer of the Sudanese Khartoum School and one of the main African artists to have a review at the Tate Modern in London, Ibrahim El Salahi consolidates European styles with customary Sudanese subjects in his art.

Famous South African Wildlife Artists & Drawing Artists In South Africa

  • Uli Aschenborn
  • Keith Joubert
  • Steve Bloom
  • Brent Stirton
  • Barbara Pike
  • Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef
  • Maggie Laubser
  • Dumile Feni
  • Cecil Skotnes¬†


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I have a pretty (pastels) painting signed by BoriSon’93. I’d really appreciate any info regarding this artist.

Frosou Besseling

I have a painting by artist Shrubsol. It is of Natal circa 1915-1920 . Would like more information please. July 2022

Jan Carmona
I have a painting if Johan Engela painted in CT as is all his paintings.

I would like to sell it.

Lenette Mallo Woodhatch
I Love Art. Especially South African Art.
SHirley OWens

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