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.
Born in the Potchefstroom area in 1946, Michael obtained a Fine Arts Degree at the University of Pretoria in 1967.
In the same year, he won the prestigious SA Arts Association New Signatures Award for his painting Seetoneel. The following year saw his first one-man exhibition at the South African Association of Arts in Pretoria.
Heyns, who lives in Pretoria with Susan, his wife of 40 years, and an assortment of dogs, cats, fish and birds, has been a full time artist for 31 years. In 2004, he opened his own gallery on the premises of the legendary Pretoria art suppliers, Schweickerdt, who have stretched canvases for him since his student days.
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 have won him a loyal following of collectors over the years.
His shyness of publicity, and the difficulty 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.”