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Christo Coetzee

(1929-2000), Artist

Sitter associated with 1 portrait

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Herman Binge - Coetzee was married to my mother for 30 years.

02 May 2019, 02:37

CHRISTO COETZEE 1929 –2000. CHRISTO COETZEE was a South African assemblage and Neo- Baroque artist, closely associated with avant-guard movements of Europe and Japan during the 1950s and 1960s. The theorist Michel Tapie, art dealer Rodolphe Stadler, art collector and photographer Anthony Denney, and the Gutai group of Japan all played an important role and influence in Coetzee’s work. After graduating from Parktown Boy’s High School he attended the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) from 1947 to 1950. Funded by a Wits scholarship, Coetzee travelled to London in 1951 to study at the Slade School of Fine art. Coetzee’s first solo exhibition in Europe, was held in March of 1955 at the Hanover Gallery in London. In 1956 Coetzee travelled to Italy for a four-month period with funding from the Italian government. He stayed in Paris for the majority of the next ten years where he continued his work under the guidance of Michel Tapié de Ceyleran, the French artist & critic and in collaboration with Galerie Stadler.In 1959 Coetzee was awarded a Japanese government bursary for two years of study in Osaka, Tokyo. Coetzee was introduced to the Gutai group and exhibited in Osaka. In 1965 he left Paris, settling in a small village in Spain, Finestrat neatr ALicante and began visiting South Africa more frequently. He is considered the most important and successful abstract painter in the history of the country. In 1983 he was awarded the South African Academy for Science and Arts Medal of Honour for his life's work. He held over 30 one man exhibitions in Europe (mostly UK, France, Spain and Italy), USA, Japan and Southern Africa and his work was taken up in national collections in all those countries. Coetzee died in Tulbagh South Africa in November 2000. In 2019 a large retrospective exhibition of his work was held in Johannesburg Standard Bank Gallery. Three books were published about his life and work.

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