Christo Coetzee

Christo Coetzee (1929 – 2000)Christo Coetzee was born in Turffontein, Johannesburg in South Africa. His family had been forced to move there from their farm after droughts to seek an income in the rich mining economy of the Witwatersrand. His father developed a lung condition and moved to the building industry where his talent for drawing became evident. Christo later attributed his artistic talents to his father and his business acumen to his mother, who raised the family after his father’s death in 1939. It was at school that he became an enthusiastic art student, and he went on to study fine art at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). After graduating in 1951, he had his first solo exhibition. He was a South African assemblage and Neo-Baroque artist closely associated with the avant-garde art movements of Europe and Japan during the 1950s and 1960s. He studied abroad several times – including stints in London, Italy, Paris, and Japan. He exhibited around the world and his work has been included in numerous collections. He succumbed to cancer in Tulbagh, South Africa, and his house (a national monument dating from 1796), was restored, together with his barn studio, and re-opened as the Christo Coetzee House Museum and Gallery in August 2011.