homehomepeoplePeter Clarke

Names: Clarke, Peter

Born: 1929, Simonstown, Cape Town, South Africa

In Summary: Artist

Peter Clarke was born in Simonstown, Cape Town. Clarke left high school in 1944. He was a dockworker until 1956 when he began painting and writing professionally. Clarke received his earliest art training at night classes at St Philips School, District Six, Cape Town in 1947. In 1948 he attended Technical College in Cape Town. Between 1947 and 1952 he was also a member of various informal art groups in Cape Town.

He studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town in 1961, the Rijks Academic van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, Holland in 1962 and 1963, and Atelier Nord (Graphic Art Workshop) in Oslo, Norway in 1978 and 1979. Clarke's writings have been published in South Africa and overseas and have been broadcast by the BBC, Voice of America and NBC in the USA, and the SABC.'

He was an extremely versatile artist, a book illustrator, a poet, a gifted writer of short stories, and a book-binder. As a printmaker he has been influenced by the prints of the German Expressionists and by Japanese woodcuts. He also has a strong interest in 20th-century Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera (1886–1957) and David Siqueiros (1896–1974). Their subject matter, with its strong social and political content and their depiction of ordinary people in a bold, naturalistic style, influenced his approach.

He has also been involved as an active supporter of a number of cultural organisations, particularly non-governmental organisations during the apartheid years.


This biography is a modified extract from the following source:

  • Proud, H. (ed) (2006) Revisions: Expanding the Narrative of South African Art. Cape Town: South African History Online and UNISA Press