Artist Frans Claerhout dies in Bloemfontein

Acclaimed Flemish artist Frans Claerhout (87) has died in a Bloemfontein hospital, South African Broadcasting (SABC) radio news reported on Tuesday.

He died in his sleep, two weeks after being admitted for pneumonia.

Born in Belgium in 1919, he became a Catholic priest and came to South Africa as a missionary in 1946, ministering to the people of the Free State in Sotho for more than half a century.

He started sketching and painting in the late 1950s in oil and a variety of other media, producing sculptures, murals, monotypes and linocuts.

His art works were exhibited in Belgium, Canada, Germany, the United States, United Kingdom and South Africa.

The SABC reported that his art works were characterised by their warm colours, thick paint, exaggerated forms, humour and compassion.

In 2002, he caused a furore in art circles when he revealed that hundreds of his art works had been forged.

He told Rapport that the forgeries were printed and sold as originals by a Bloemfontein art dealer.

He remained inundated with requests for charcoal and acrylic art works towards the end of his life.—Sapa

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