Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jan Ernst Abraham Volschenk

Jan Ernst Abraham Volschenk (20 August 1853 Riversdale - 22 January 1936 Riversdale), was a South African painter, noted for his majestic landscapes of the Langeberg Range in the Western Cape Province.

Born of Dutch parents on the farm Melkhoutskraal, Volschenk started painting when still a child and was largely self-taught. James Reitz, the Government Land Surveyor, saw some of his drawings and suggested that his brother Gysbert, a Riversdale lawyer, take an interest. He eventually joined the firm of Reitz & Versfeld as a bookkeeper. At 51 years of age he gave up his office job and devoted all his time to his oils and canvases. His home district around Riversdale and the Langeberg, was his inspiration and subject matter, and he became a master of the subtle colours and tones of the Karoo mountains.
Volschenk's keen powers of observation spilled over into natural history - he amassed a collection of more than 4 000 beetle specimens.

When 45 years old, Volschenk married another Riversdale resident, Helen Smalberger, and they produced a family of nine daughters. Of these, Vera, the eldest, followed in her father's footsteps and painted in the same genre.

Thank you Maria for this lovely South African FDC, with the pretty stamps depicting paintings by Volschenk.

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