Contact Details

Winery Road,
Somerset West,
Western Cape

Cell: 083 700 4711
Managing Director
Rene Goosen

Büchner, Carl

Carl Büchner (1921 – 2003) was born in Somerset East on the 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.

He was best known for the portraits of children, young men, flower sellers and harlequins. The harlequin formed a very strong theme in his work. Carl saw the harlequin as a symbol of each and every person, with something to hide from the outside world, behind a white mask. Although these harlequins were dressed in colourful costumes, they were never funny; instead they were observing the silly, mad world.