A retrospective of Alice Elahi's work took place in February 2015 at the Pretoria Art Museum, the last exhibition before the artist passed away in March 2020.

Quartz Plains, Namib

South African landscape artist

Alice Elahi established herself as one of South Africa’s leading landscape artists. Her most enduring subject, for over 20 years, was the Namibian landscape – its desert interior and its wild and inaccessible shoreline.

Other major themes have been seascapes of the Cape coast, the African Bushveld, flower studies and early subjects such as beach studies with figures. She worked in watercolour, mixed media and oils.

The late art critic Johan van Rooyen said (2002): “Elahi may today be considered one of the most accomplished and subtle landscapists in the book of South African art. She expresses most poignantly the temper and temperament of our wilds.” For other press clippings, click here.

Her life

Alice Elahi was born in Cape Town in 1926 and studied in London under Ruszkowski. She settled in Pretoria with her Iranian husband and four daughters, and lived there for over 50 years until she passed away in 2020.

Her professional career began when she won the New Signatures Award in 1968. Her work is now included in public and private collections in South Africa and overseas, among them the Pretoria Art Museum and various embassies abroad.

Johan van Rooyen also wrote about Alice in the Lantern in 1977, giving an insight into her career in an article entitled Alice Elahi in her Prime.

An article by the late Dr Albert Werth, then director of the Pretoria Art Museum, on Alice Elahi’s work appears in Our Art 4.

Alice held an annual exhibition at her studio home in Pretoria for over 24 years, with her 2015 Pretoria Art Museum retrospective her final exhibition. Other important exhibitions include her 1988 retrospective at the University of Pretoria, as well as many solo shows in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Namibia.