Friday, February 27, 2009

Show & Tell Friday!

Welcome to “Show and Tell Friday!” Do you have something special to share with us? It could be a trinket from grade school, a piece of jewellery, or a treasured collection. Look around your closet if you have to share! Share photos and the story that goes with your special item. To find some more interesting “Show and Tell” stories, visit http://www.kellishouse.blogspot.com/
Father Frans Claerhout – a priest and artist whose ministry included so many things. He was a poet, a missionary, an advocate of the poor but most importantly, his ministry was to witness what it is to be a human being! He once said, “Why paint landscapes when you can empty a paintbrush with women, donkeys and sunflowers.” And these were often predominant in his works. Father Claerhout, a Belgian priest, immigrated to South Africa in 1946 as a Catholic Missionary. He never received formal instruction in painting, but his charming style appealed to many art lovers and investors.
I remember falling in love with his work as a little girl. My dear friend Jose (who now lives in Austria, and who reads my blog!) introduced me to his work. Her parents were close friends of Claerhout and they often used to visit him at his studio in Tweespruit. I always longed to own one of his masterpieces and today I have two charcoals in my lounge and I LOVE them. You might recognise them as they have been in the background of a couple of my photographs.
This is the larger of the two and my favourite - I love the guitar, and the big hands!
The smaller one - typical of his work - mother and child - see the sunflower on the top left!?
When Stacey was a little girl, in fact she was only 2, we went to his studio with Jose and Dietmar. I remember having Clam Chowder lovingly made by Father Michel who lived there. We proceeded to have red wine and Father Claerhout settled down with a good cigar after dinner. We watched him work on his spring collection that day. It was a delightful afternoon and I still have a picture of Stacey that Claerhout drew with a black koki pen – “Die Kleine met die groote oe” (the little one with big eyes).

This is it - I absolutely love it! He also made her a little donkey out of a bit of paper that had his budget worked out on it! When you put your fingers in the fold, the little ears move up and down!
One of our very special meetings with Father was the christening of my god-son, Alexander! Jose found this photo graph and sent it to me this week! That’s me with the dark hair in those days!
Left to Right: Fr Claerhout, Dietmar, Jose, Me with Alexander and Willy, Jose's brother
Jose’s brother, Tony, tells how as children they used to go and spend holidays at Fr Claerhout’s Thaba’Nchu home. How they gathered around him to listen to age-old stories that ranged from everyday things to witches with warts and a baboon that lived on the white cliff outside Thaba’Nchu.

Father Claerhout has passed on now, but his stories, his work and his love for the African people will live on forever.

19 comments:

REAL ME said...

Very amazing art indeed.

Terry & Dennis Macri said...

Great artwork, thank you for sharing.

Firefly said...

I don't want to just say its a very interesting story, as it is so much more than that. A story like this become "folk lore" within a family and is something you make sure the kids will know and will one day pass on to their kids along with the artwork.

Nanna said...

it's great that you have somehtng that will always hold a sentimental value to you, love your blog, it was like taking a history class & asorbing culture, thanks for visiting me
Helen

Michelle said...

Hi Jan. How I envy you. I love F Claerhaus paintings. How is Jose? I can still remember her.
Love Shelly

Hootin' Anni said...

What treasures. I love this art...I try to do pencil sketches myself now and then [if you click on my sidebar labels --under art-- I have some of mine posted too.] But these...these are wonderful works.

My Show n Tell is now posted. If you can find time, I'd love to have your company. Drop by for a look, chat a while....and then, have a great weekend!!!!

Susan said...

How wonderful to have these pieces you treasure but especially to have the wonderful story that goes along with them!!
Susan

Smilingsal said...

You have some real treasures here! Thanks for sharing. Happy Show and Tell Friday.

Pam said...

What a neat story and beautiful artwork. I love the one drawing of your daughter!

I can't remember if I left you a comment yesterday or not. If not, I tagged you again! This one's all about your handbag/purse and it's fun. Hope you'll oblige us and play along. No pressure, though!

Have a great weekend,
Pam

JanMary said...

Amazing drawings - thanks for sharing them and the story behind them.

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Very talented artist, thank you for sharing.
Blessings,
Sue

Pink Slippers said...

Great post!
Wendy

LDH said...

I can see why you cherish these wonderful pieces of art! Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving your comment!

Lisa Ann said...

Very unique pieces of art.

Susie Homemaker said...

This is such a special post...thanks for sharing this wonderful artwork done by such a special artist...

Blessings,
Susie

pam said...

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Barbara said...

wonderful pictures....and i see you live in a wonderful corner on our globe...Kisses from Germany barbara

Jeanette said...

I have a Claerhout too, it's my favourite piece of art in my house :)

Kelli said...

Wonderful show and tell and a very interesting story!
~Kelli