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NICO PETER JACOBUS PRINS

( 19
45 - 1999 )


10 August 1999        by Andries Loots


On the 29th of July the Art Community of Cape Town and South Africa once again lost one of its well-known artists,  NICO PRINS

Born in 1945 in Calitzdorp in the Cape Province,  Nico appreciated the beauty that surrounded him and always stayed in touch with his people and with where he grew up. In 1963 he moved to Ravensmead near Cape Town. He loved  open landscapes and often traveled throughout South Africa,   Namibia and Mozambique to do his sketches. In 1988 he went on a study tour to the UK and was guest lecturer in Scotland. It was however the Cape and it's outskirts  like Heidelberg,   Calitzdorp and the Karoo that brought him back time and time again and this is were his best works were done.

I met Nico three years ago and I considered him as one of my best and dearest friends as we both share the same passion for art and  would have lengthy discussions on the subject. He always attended exhibitions by other artists and with his black beret was a familiar face at opening nights. I recently prepared a catalogue of his work for him to take with on his trip to Scotland,  the Nedertherlands and Spain. Although his work is taken up in numerous private collections overseas, It was his big desire and dream to become  well known overseas and to stage a solo exhibition abroad.

He was a man of many talents and worked as a chef on the Blue train when he was younger but as the urge to make art grew stronger he resigned  and in 1975 he studied art at the Ruth Prowse School of Art under Erik Laubscher. In 1981 he took up private lessons with June te Water and continued this during 1982 - 1985 under Maureen Langley once again at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town. Nico specialized in sculpture and was known as a sculptor long before he became more focused on  painting. He worked in wood,  stone,  cement fondue and later had some of his works cast in bronze.

Wooden Torso Bronze sculpture
Old District six Later work, displaying stronger use of colour
 He befriended the artist Gregoire Boonzaier and although he never received formal training from him,  his style influenced Nico and it was clearly seen in his works,  yet Nico took it one step further and gave it his own interpretation. Gregoire Boonzaier and Nico discussed art and the process of art making and stayed friends over the years. Nico broke away from the conservative way of working and started implementing brighter colours and bolder brush strokes to his work.
Sketch Marble and wooden sculpture
Wooden and cement sculpture
Scottish scene Heidelberg
Nico participated in many group exhibitions from 1982 in South Africa,  Namibia and the USA. His work was widely displayed in Galleries in South Africa.  He had his first solo-exhibition in 1983 at the Atlantic Art Gallery in Cape Town.

His work is represented in many private collections locally and abroad and is also included in the Parow Municipal Collection.

He will be dearly missed by his family,   friends and the Art community of South Africa and those who had the privilege to acquire one of his works.

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