original oil paintings by south african artist

Nita Spilhaus - South African Artist, Oil Paintings 1878-1967

Nita Spilhaus was born in Lisbon, Portugal 1878-1967

Art Education
1896-1900: Lubeck School of Art, Germany Kunst Akademie, Munich

Short Artist Biography
Her father had come from the small German town of Lubeck to run a branch of the familv business in Lisbon; her mother was Portuguese; both died during her infancy and she was reared by her grandfather in Lubeck. In her unpublished memoirs Nita Spilhaus states that she studied at Munich at the same time and under the same master as Hugo Naude, but did not meet him because men and women studied separately; worked primarily at drawing and etching.
1900: Nita Spilhaus published a folio of etchings of Lubeck; subsequently painted in the artists' colony at Dachau.
1907: Nita Spilhaus came to live with relatives in Cape Town; admitted that year as member of South African Society of Artists: met Allerley Glossop within a few davs of arrival and a firm friendship developed: Hugo Naude and his wife became intimate members of their circle; drew and etched studies of' local trees and landscape.
1913: when Naude revisited Munich Nita Spilhaus took over his classes in Worcester.
1914: Nita Spilhaus desired to become first keeper of Michaelis Collection, but as a German she was not eligible for the appointment which went to Pauline Thomas, another member of the circle; WW1 was a difficult period; she was not allowed to paint outdoors, therefore took to flower-painting.
1915: Nita Spilhaus met Pieter Wenning during his stay in Cape Town; he became a close friend.
1917: Nita Spilhaus referred to in Roworth's essay `Landscape Art in South Africa';
1918: during the influenza epidemic Nita Spilhaus was nursed by Florence Zerffi.
1920: exhibited in Jhb.
1921: Nita Spilhaus married a German osteologist, Dr Simon; a few years later they moved to Munich.
1929: Nita Spilhaus sent out collection of oil-paintings, washdrawings and etchings for exhibition at Lezar'd's, Johannesburg. They were back in Cape Town at the time of the formation of the New Group and she was present at the opening of its first exhibition,
1938; despite Wagda Sauer's contrary assertion in 'Our Art', she does not appear ever to have been a member of the Group; did not play an active role in Cape Town art in her later vears.
1963: Nita Spilhaus was too ill to paint any longer, but an exhibition of her work was arranged in Cape Town. She published folios of etchings: `Trees'; `Cape Town Etchings'-published by `Cape Times'. Signed her work with a distinctive monogram - a contraction of the letters N and S, set in a circle.

Art Exhibitions
1900: first one-man art exhibition, Germany
1907: exhibited jointly with JS Morland in Cape Town, later with Hugo Naude; group exhibitions
with South African Society of Artists.
1910: SANU Exhibition Johannesburg.
1920: first one-man art exhibition, Johannesburg.
1936: Empire Exhibiotn. Johannesburg.
1952: Van Riebeeck Tercent art exhibition, CT.
1953: Rhodes Cent Exhibition, Bulawayo.
1979: `South African Printmakers', South African National Gallery, Cape Town

Public Art Collections
South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Durban Art Gallery; Pretoria Art Museum; William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberly; Rembrandt Foundation; Albany Museum, Grahmstown; King George VI Gallery, Port Elizabeth; University of Wits Galleries.


Berman, E. 1994. Art & Artists of South Africa . Southern Book Publishers.

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