South African Artist, Wessel Marais
Born in 1935 in Magaliesburg. Before his school-going age, his father, a postmaster, was transferred to Welverdient, a village near Potchefstroom, where Wessel grew up. It was here, at the age of five, that he was introduced to drawing by his older friend Simon, the son of a farm-worker. They drew with sticks in the sand, and their drawings were mainly of trains, which Wessel used to draw upside down. His ambition to become a pilot, too, was not practical at the time and instead he studied commercial art. When Wessel got a job as a commercial artist he continued to paint in his spare time. He also took lessons from Zakkie Eloff, learning how to do portraits in pastel and oil, and drew inspiration from Erich Mayer’s landscapes and the masters of French impressionism. Small art dealers, who found a good market for his works, marketed Wessel Marais’ paintings. Guiseppe Cattaruzza, an Italian painter with his own gallery in Pretoria, became interested in his paintings, he not only exhibited them, but he also gave Wessel some valuable advice on how to improve his technique.In 1970, he started to paint professionally. Wessel held many solo and group exhibitions.Wessel Marais’ work has been extensively collected by private individuals and corporations alike, both within and without South Africa. Wessel died on 03 April 2009.