On May 25 2006 South Africa lost one of its greatest artists.
Hannes Harrs, aged 79, sat down for a little rest after a productive day spent in his studio. He sat back in his favourite chair to contemplate his latest painting and fell asleep. It was a short while later when his wife, Soelve, came to cover him with a blanket that she realised that he had left this world.
Hannes, born into an artistic family in Germany in 1927, immigrated to South Africa at the age of 23. His uncle, a ship’s captain who made regular trips to Durban, had awakened in Hannes a desire to experience South Africa, by showing him strange and wonderful artefacts made by the local artists. It was also this experience that set Hannes on the path as an expert and lover of the ancient Art of Africa.
Hannes has been a professional artist since the late sixties when he gave up his career in advertising to become a full-time professional artist. His art has developed from bold abstract figures inspired by the shapes and colours of Africa into beautiful Kuba collages much admired both in South Africa and overseas. In an interview at the Picasso exhibition, Hannes said how that great man had been one of the major influences in his own art.
From humble beginnings and his first public exhibition at the Egon Guenter Gallery in 1961, Hannes has produced prolifically and been exhibited in many major art galleries around the world. In this country, his work is represented in the Sasol and Absa collections, as well as in galleries and private collections in every province. We celebrate the life of Hannes – accomplished artist, sculptor and printmaker, well known not only in South Africa, but also abroad. His memory lives on in the many wonderful works of art which he has produced.