Frans Martin Claerhout

Frans Martin Claerhout was born in Pittem, Belgium, in 1919 and came to South Africa in 1946 as a catholic missionary.

For many years he was a well known and respected figure at St Francis mission outside thaba ‘nchu. He later moved into the village and eventually settled in Tweespruit, a few kilometers from Thaba ‘Nchu.
Claerhout was a self taught artist, but he maintained a close affinity with his native Belgium and the expressionist painters who worked there early in the century.
In 1958 he was one of a group of painters, writers and art patrons who formed an art movement in the Free State, which became known as the Bloemfontein Group.
With the group, Claerhout exhibited in Bloemfontein, Kimberly, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Potchefstroom. However he also enjoyed many solo exhibition inn South African centres. He did not stay away from Belgium and on several occasions, showed his works with great success, particularly in his home town of Pittem as well as in Leuvren, Brugge and Kotryk.
Claerhout’s work based largely on village life in Thaba ‘Nchu, has received a great deal of enthusiastic attention.
Francis Martin Claerhout died on the 3rd of July 2006.

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