Braam Kruger 1950 – 2008
Braam Kruger (1958 – 2008) – Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue
An exceptional retrospective exhibition of oil paintings by Braam Kruger (1950 -2008) was hosted by the UJ Art Gallery during September and October 2009. The exhibition comprised of works mainly from private collections and included several paintings that have not yet been seen by the general art fraternity.
After his untimely death Fred Scott was asked by loyal Braam Kruger fans to curate a retrospective exhibition to present his work to a wider audience. Kruger was a prolific artist and a master of many techniques ranging from ceramics, 3-D paintings, drawings, watercolours and oil and acrylic paintings. His versatility as an artist created some complexity to assemble a retrospective exhibition and the decision was therefore taken to focus on selecting only oil paintings for the current show.
Braam Kruger was known as a rebel, he was forthright, a maverick and he could be scathing, yet he had sound moral values and showed concern for people and fellow artists. He revelled in the miraculous enjoyment of life and expressed this by portraying attractive people in a relaxed, self assured, appealing, dramatic and sensual context.
The early traditional themes in his paintings were created with taste and displayed a particularly good feeling for composition and balance. These quality elements laid the foundation for his later portrait, landscape, nude and still life work creating a unique Braam Kruger style of painting.
He enjoyed making large paintings and preferred to paint on wooden panels. His artistic evolution was typified by a total freedom to express fantasies. These fantasies reflected his sensitivities and were communicated in the form of superheroes and later, also in complex religious interpretations. His reverie became an obsession where loneliness, fairness, sadness, love and death ruled in his panels. A master of portrait painting, in these studies he always surrounded his models, sitters and himself with surreal landscapes and objects.
Present day realities played an important role in Kruger’s painting career. He related to occurrences in daily life and integrated them into most of his paintings. He also had the ability to knot together creative ideas with visual material which he gathered from old masters and historical paintings.
Equally, for Kruger art was a wonderful playful way of living and a tool with which he expressed his ideas. It offered him a window to communicate his vivid imagination that was filled with eroticism. A major part of his oeuvre was dedicated to women, his most favourite theme being the liberated woman; the arouser of all passion. In his nude studies temptation is stated stylishly, while beauty is portrayed in a proud and irresistible manner.