Marjorie Wallace (1925-2005)
Graduating from the Edinburgh College of Art in 1947, Wallace received a travel grant which stipulated a trip to Europe, and exposure to Italian art. At the end of her travels, she decided to make Montparnasse, Paris her home. After the Second World War, Paris was regarded as the cultural centre of the Western World, and attracted intellectuals, writers and artists from all over the globe – Jan Rabie, the Afrikaans writer from South Africa, was one of these. Marjorie Wallace’s unique extrovert personality would add colour and vibrancy to the South African art and literary world, as well as to her canvases, when she followed Rabie to Cape Town after their marriage in Paris, in 1955.
Wallace’s oeuvre constitutes a unique record of the people of the Western Cape, and their lives – with many of her friends and experiences serving as her subject matter. Her atmospheric paintings of the people and the landscapes in her direct environment are presented in simplified forms, and enhanced by her intuitive ability to capture the brilliant light and colours of her adopted African homeland. The most striking aspect of Marjorie Wallace’s paintings must be the prevailing sense of compassion for her fellow man – underwritten by her joyous approach to life, and death, she championed the plight of the downtrodden in our ‘rainbow nation’.
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