Michael Ferreira Heyns is an acclaimed South African artist who works primarily in oil on canvas and board but also produces three-dimensional works in clay. He has also self-published a coffee table book Michael Heyns Chronological (2004) and a set of diaries. He obtained a Fine Arts Degree at the University of Pretoria in 1967. The following year saw his first one-man exhibition at the South African Association of Arts in Pretoria.
Michael’s distinctive paint application, sometimes wet layers on dry paint, pale colors on a dark background and subtle shades of color have become distinguishing features of his work. Accents of color, such as bright cycad pods, red poppies and indigo colors have always been crescent.
Heyns’s most enduring and beloved motifs are flowers and faces (he is particularly well known for his interpretation of the Pierrot image). His simplicity of style, seamless harmonizing of abstraction and representation, masterful drawing technique and flawless compositions has won him a loyal following of collectors over the years.
His shyness of publicity, and the difficulty that art critics and academics have in categorizing the genre of his work, have resulted in Michael Heyns being (in the words of art critic Fransi Phillips) “possibly one of the most under-estimated artists in South Africa.”