Ryno Swart | Robertson Art Gallery
Ryno
Swart (1945 - 2021)

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Ryno Swart painting of a vase with flowers standing on a table

Still Life with Drapes

R33 500  /  R33 900

45.5 x 35.5cm

Ryno Swart painting of a woman lying on a bed with her feet in the air

Dormitory

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45.5 x 61cm

Girl with a silver earring | Robertson Art Gallery

Girl with a Silver Earring

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41 x 30.5cm

Ryno Swart painting of a half nude lady

Sarah

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88 x 61cm

Cornflowers | Robertson Art Gallery

Cornflowers

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35.5 x 25cm

Ryno Swart painting of a woman sitting with her arms wide open, resting

Resting

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30.5 x 23cm

Ryno Swart painting of roses

Still Life with Roses

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28 x 35.5cm

Ryno Swart painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Her Blue Ribbon

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31 x 23.5cm

Ryno Swart painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Lady in Red

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101.5 x 76cm

The Music Student | Robertson Art Gallery

The Music Student

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103 x 77cm

Ryno Swart painting

Anton’s Apple

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25 x 30cm

Ryno Swart painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Rose Romance

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25 x 30cm

Ryno Swart painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Blues

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30.5 x 40.5cm

Kitty-portrait of a young girl | Robertson Art Gallery

Kitty, Portrait of a Young Girl

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150 x 150cm

Ryno Swart painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Swirling Skirts

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30.5 x 23cm

Ryno Swart painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Chantilly Lace

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60.5 x 45cm

Ryno Swart painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Bridesmaid

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46 x 35.5cm

"I believe in the supremacy of the eye in art, in the same way that the ear is supreme in music. Painting is a purely visual experience. This applies not only to the appreciation of art, but equally, to its creation, on canvas, and to its conception, in imagination. At the heart of my painting instruction is this: "Copy slavishly what you see. Then learn to see."

As well as being one of the foremost figure artists of the second half of the 20th century, Ryno Swart is a founder and leader of an important new figurative art movement in South Africa. In his often erotic images, there is a sense of truth and of respect that gives depth, dignity and beauty to his work. As a teacher, he has shared the ideas and concepts that has formed his own art and philosophy over many years. These teaching activities have led him to an unceasing exploration of the techniques and the underlying meaning of the artistic process. Central to his personal artistic philosophy is the principle of vision. As music communicates directly to the ear, so does painting relate to the eye, which has its own intelligence. His central tenet is:

Paint exactly what you see. Then learn to see.

The artist has to learn to see the mystery, the beauty, the majesty of the unmediated visual experience. Because we do not see faces, bodies, or garments, but colours, shapes, textures, clarities and mystery. These are the subject of Ryno's work.

We can only ever paint one thing. It is that thing which occupies our thoughts, the things we dwell on. We only paint what we love. There is no point in asking ourselves why we love mountains, or birds, or clouds. In Ryno's work it is the beauty of the female mystique.

Growing up to be an artist in the 50s and 60s was never easy, because of the total dominance of modernism. Any love for figurative or naturalistic art was very much discouraged in art schools; so it was against the odds that Ryno struggled to find a place for his dreams. He did not make it any easier when he decided that he would only work from direct visual experience, never from photographs.

Ryno's works falls into 3 basic categories; work done from life,with the model in the studio; work done from sketches done in the field, at ballet schools and in clubs; and work done from imagination, in the dark and mysterious spaces of our mind.

Believing that the message can never be separated from the voice that carries it, Ryno, from the beginning, was determined to learn the techniques and the methods of the masters he so much admired, Degas, Rembrandt, Turner, Titian. Much of this search was simple chance and the result of experiment, but today Ryno has an unusual command over his medium, in oils, pastels and watercolour. It is this which makes possible the sense of the intonation of a living voice, talking, chanting, whispering.
Over the years the subject matter of Ryno's work has undergone an evolution. After working in film storyboarding for about 3 years, he went to Paris to learn painting from the old masters he loved so much. Exposed for the first time to the beauty of European cities, his subjects were everywhere, children, buildings, river barges, all beauty; but when he returned to Johannesburg, he felt the need actively to seek out beauty. Here he found it in the ballet, where he trained his eye and his hand in unison with the dancers training their bodies. Every day for four years he spent the entire day from 10am to 6pm, drawing, drawing the dancers, even choreographing an experimental ballet in the form of drawings. This discipline only ended when the ballet company moved from Johannesburg to Pretoria. Then, with some of the more adventurous young dancers, he ventured into the word of cabaret.

In 1986 this love took him full circle, back to Paris and now to the Alcazar nightclub where long before his hero Toulouse Lautrec did some of his beautiful work. At the same time he started to explore a personal mythology, peopled with mysterious, beautiful women, moving about on a journey the destination of which only time shall reveal.
In his work there is always the one simple message: "This I see. This I love."

1945.Springbok. Ryno is born on the 19th July. 1969.University of Stellenbosch. B.A. Fine Arts. 1970.East London School of Art. Lecturer. 1971.Johannesburg School of Art. Lecturer. 1972/74. Johannesburg and Salisbury. Visualiser. 1974/75. Johannesburg. Freelance scriptwriting and storyboarding. 1976.Paris. Study and painting. Ryno chooses a career in fine art. 1977.Johannesburg. Ballet. Drawing. Study of movement. 1980.Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg. First solo exhibition. 1982.La Reunion, Mauritius, Greece, Paris. Painting and study. 1983.Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg. One man show. 1984.Cape Town. Ballet & cabaret painting. 1985.Gallery 709, Cape Town. One man show. 1987.Gallery 709, Cape Town. One man show. 1989.Paris. Galerie Ettienne de Caussans. One man show. 1989.Chartres. Galerie du Cloitre. One man show. 1989.Cape Town. Founder member, the Artists' Co-operative. 1990.Gallery 709, Cape Town. One man show. 1991.Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg. One man show. 1994.Brian Sinfield Gallery, Oxfordshire. One man show. 1995.Brian Sinfield Gallery, Oxfordshire. Group show. Important British art. 1998.Galerie Gérard, Wassenaar. Group show. 1999.Albertyn's Stables, Simon's Town. One man show. 2000.Carmel gallery, Cape Town. One man show. 2001.Gallery Plett, Zeist, Holland. Group show. 2002.Thompson's Galleries. London. Group show. 2003.Gallery Plett, Zeist, Holland. One man show.
Academic:
B.A. Fine Arts Lecturer, Fine Arts Lecturer, Graphic Design Lecturer, Fine Arts Lecturer, Fine Arts Founder/Director Art Teaching Lecturer, Painting University of Stellenbosch East London School of Art Johannesburg Art College Johannesburg Art College Ruth Prowse Art School Artists' Co-operative International School, Cape Town Freelance 1969 1970 1971 1980 1984-9 1989 1993 1994+
Graphic Design:
Visualiser Storyboard/scripting Design Creative Director Freelance DeV&S DeV&S Partners in Graphics Chilvers Illustration and storyboarding 1972 1973 1974 1975 1975
Fine art overseas trips:
Full-time fine artist Figure subjects Cabaret subjects Exhibition/work Painting holiday Painting holiday Paris La Reunion, Mauritius, Paris Alcazar, Paris Holland, France, U.K. Greece Venice and storyboarding 1976 1982 1989 1993 2000/2/4 2001/2/5
Exhibitions:
1980. 1983. 1985. 1987. 1989. 1989. 1990 1991 1994 1998 1999 2000. 2001. 2002. 2003. Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg. Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg. Gallery 709, Cape Town. Gallery 709, Cape Town. Paris. Galerie Ettienne de Caussans. Chartres. Galerie du Cloitre. Gallery 709, Cape Town. Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg. Brian Sinfield Gallery, Oxfordshire. Galerie GÈrard, Wassenaar. Albertyn's Stables, Simon's Town. Gallery Plett, Zeist, Nederland. Carmel Gallery, Cape Town. Thompson's Fine Art Gallery. Gallery Plett, Zeist, Nederland. One man show. One man show. One man show. One man show. One man show. One man show. One man show. One man show. One man show. Group show. One man show. Group show. One man show. Group show. One man show.
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