Amos Langdown

Amos Langdown

Amos Langdown (1930 – 2006) was born in Plettenberg Bay. His interest in art dates back to his childhood. He completed a BA degree at the University of Port Elizabeth. After a long teaching career, Amos had until his death, been working as an art advisor and school inspector in the Southern and Eastern Cape.

He worked in various media, but shows a preference for oil. His paintings show a deep understanding of and sympathy for the people and events in the world surrounding him. His inspiration came from the see, wind and beach. He was famous for his sympathetic and humorous display of people in his art as well as soft and subtle use of colour. Through using red brown colour when painting people, giving them a feeling of floating on the canvas.

Although influenced by the great French cartoonist, lithographer and draughtsman Honoré Daumier, Langdown’s own social commentary on the life of the communities on the Cape Flats was invariably infused with a sympathetic insight and sentiment. This is clearly seen in his somewhat formulaic oil paintings of grouped figures. To some extent this mood also reflects the influence of the work of Carl Büchner and Russell Harvey who were also teaching at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the the time. The sentiment observable in his later work has tended, especially since his recent death, to it being exploited for sale by commercial galleries in the form of commercial colour lithographic prints. Langdown also known as an enthusiastic poet lent his skills to illustrating the published writings of such literary personalities as Alba Bouwer, Pieter Grobbelaar and the poet P.J. Philander who recently died in the USA.

The artist has participated in various international exhibitions, for example the Venice Biennale in Italy and the Sub-Saharan African Exhibition that toured the USA for a year. All the works in the latter exhibition were sold and can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

His work also forms part of several overseas and local collections, and his many solo exhibitions included one held at the University of Port Elizabeth in 1988.

“As I dip my brush into paint, I dip it into my soul and he who cannot appreciate this, does not have a soul.”

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