Preller, Alexis (1911 – 1975)
Alexis Preller was born in Pretoria and attended Pretoria Boys High School. After completing school he
worked as a clerk before persuading his family to allow him to seek a future as an artist. In 1934 he set
off for London where he met JH Pierneef, who advised him to enroll at Westminster School of Art.
In 1935 he returned to Pretoria where he held his first exhibition. In 1937 he went to Paris and studied
art at Grande Chaumiere, under Othon Frieze. On his return from these studies Alexis Preller stayed
in Swaziland for a while. In 1938 he joined the New Group, and was included on their first exhibition.
In 1939 he went on safari to the Congo but the outbreak of World War IIbrought him back to Pretoria.
After the war in 1946 he went on a study-trip to London and Paris. Between 1948 – 1949 he travelled
Zanzibar and the Seychelles where he produced many paintings.
In 1953 Alexis Preller went on another study-trip, this time to Italy and Egypt. In 1954 he settled on a
farm near Hartebeespoortdam. In the year of 1968 Alexis Preller undertook a trip to Greece and Italy,
this is also when he began with his autobiography. He held his last exhibition in Johannesburg in 1975,
and later in the year he suffered a heart attack and passed away.
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