The New Romance Of South African Painting

A roundup of House and Leisure's favourite painters from what critics are calling South Africa's school of 'New Romantics'.

Supplied / Rosie Mudge at Smith Gallery

Rosie Mudge, 2018

From the floating cloudscapes of Robyn Penn, to the fine glitter paintings of Rosie Mudge, anyone with an eye toward the South African arts would’ve noticed the next wave of artists making a return to the canvas. These new paintings argue for an alternative to the 'new aesthetic' of our internet-existence, and at House and Leisure, we’re obsessed with the luxurious colours, textures and landscapes that their works encompass.

In 2017, critic and curator Mary Corrigall called this new school of painters the ‘New Romantics’ at an exhibition she curated at Barnard Gallery in Cape Town. In her curatorial statement, Corrigall looked back at the past to look forward, saying that, “painters of [the Romantic] era were similarly standing at the threshold of radical shifts as industrialisation and enlightenment were shaping the world. Conversely, a contemporary generation of artists, evincing this ‘Romantic’ style, are capturing and embracing uncertainty wrought by threats to the environment, and the rise of virtual reality in the post-industrial and information era.

Far from slowing down, the New Romantics are shaping up to be one of the local art scene’s freshest and most prominent voices. Below are some favourites that you should know about and keep an eye on — follow them on Instagram as well for regular injections of beauty into your feed.

Rosie Mudge


Here’s to the team from @smithstudioct for making my dreams come true with my first solo exhibition - now a wrap! A big big thank you to @candacemarshallsmith @jana_babez and @michauc12 for their hard work and dedication to this exhibition. To @amybogen who was such a big support to me and my process for so many years - words cannot express the gratitude - you gave me immeasurable encouragement and I certainly would not been here without you. To all my friend who visited the show and to all my friends who encouraged me from afar, your support has meant the world to me. To the buyers and admirers - thank you! To my family - thank you! Now to the future. 👋👋👋👋

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Grace Cross


Marlene Steyn

Georgina Gratrix


😍😍😍 #georginagratrix @smac_gallery @artbrussels

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Mia Chaplin


Living in the pink palace 🕌 #mountnelson commission 🙃

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Erin Chaplin


Alexia Vogel


Heidi Fourie


Jeanne Gaigher


Painted in my ma's garage over the weekend

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Jeanne Hoffman

Robyn Penn


The Cape Town Art Fair opens tonight. #ictaf18 #barnardgallery #robynpenn

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Zarah Cassim