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Buchner - Face of Christ - Zoom

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Carl Büchner was born in Somerset East on 24 August 1921. The family moved to Johannesburg in 1928 where he matriculated and in 1940 he started his studies in History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand. The following year he switched to Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand Technical Collage School of Arts and Crafts under Eric Byrd and Maurice Van Essche. He obtained his National Teachers diploma in 1944 and taught at several schools in Gauteng and at the Pretoria Art Centre with Walter Battiss and others. His fist solo-Exhibition was in 1954 and after being appointed Art Inspector for the Cape Education Department in Grahamstown, he moved back to the Cape. He led a quiet life during which he participated in various exhibitions locally and abroad. In 1964 he went on a study tour to Europe and in 1970 he retired from teaching to start his career as a full time artist. Carl always referred to his paintings as his children and it was with his retrospective Exhibition in 1996 at the Strydom Gallery in George that he said: "I am very excited to see so many of my children that were in foster care for so long all together once again…" The reason why his work is so popular with collectors could be the fact that the works are calm and yet full of emotion, never carried a message of protest and yet touched the onlooker. "These were works of mystery and wonder" (J.H. Giliomee, 1996, Opening speech: Strydom Gallery, Carl Büchner - Retrospective) Although the works are full of emotion, they are never emotional. There is a subtle undertone of happiness present. South Africa lost one of our most-loved artists, Carl Büchner, who sadly died alone and poor in the beginning of May 2003 at the age of 82 after a very long illness.

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