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 Born 1928, Nel Erasmus obtained a BA in Fine Art at Wits and a NATC at The Witwatersrand Technical College in the early 1950’s. 

After teaching in art in Johannesburg and London, she settled in France in 1953, studying at the Academie Ranson, Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Sorbonne.

In 1958 she was invited by Michel Seuphor to take part in the exhibition that launched “A Dictionary of Abstract Painting” at Galerie Creuze, Paris.

And in 1964, she was again invited to exhibit her work at the launch of “Abstract Painting: 50 years of accomplishment”.

Nel has both written and featured in multiple publications on abstract art, such as “1945 – 1970 America, Africa, Asia, Oceania”.

Abstract painter, Nel Erasmus in her Melville home art studio. (Photo Credit: Chris Preyser, Johannesburg, 2016).

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Preyser (2016)

From 1957 through to 1977, Nel worked at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, first as an assistant to then Director Dr. Anton Hendriks and then later as Director herself, from 1966.

During this time and beyond, Nel had more than 30 solo exhibitions across the country. And in 2015, as JAG celebrates its 100th anniversary, they have honoured her in their hard cover for her work at the gallery.

In 1977, Nel took to early retirement to focus on her work and has happily spent the majority of her time in her studio ever since.

Between 1982 and ’91, her work was regularly shown at Cassirer Fine Art in Rosebank.

Since 2007, Nel has exhibited regularly at Dawid’s Choice Gallery in Sandton and in 2009, Smac Gallery in Stellenbosch showed her portraits of duality.

In 2012, Nel made it once again onto the pages of a publication, but this time Smac published a book solely dedicated to her life’s work.

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