Peter Schütz is a leading contemporary South African sculptor. He was born in Germany, and in the 1950s immigrated with his family to the Kwa-Zulu Natal province of South Africa. Schütz completed his initial training at the Natal Technikon, before graduating with his MFA from the University of Natal. Outside of his artistic practice, Schütz devoted much of his life to teaching, having worked both at the Natal Technikon, and at the University of the Witwatersrand where he lectured for almost twenty years.
Schütz’s oeuvre is comprised primarily of sculptural works. He also produced several bodies of print editions, often in collaboration with the Caversham Press. Schütz’s subject matter is broad, ranging from religious iconography to domestic scenes and landscapes – depicting figures and objects from the sacred to the everyday. A common thread knitting these together is the artist’s wit and wisdom, as well as his commitment to creating works of art that are uniquely African. Schütz’s preferred medium was jelutong, a soft, light-coloured Indonesian wood. A master woodworker, his sculptures are meticulously carved and sanded, typically painted in boldly coloured oils.
In 1984, Schütz was selected as the winner of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, and in 1988, he was the recipient of a Cape Town Triennial Gold Medal. Schütz was commissioned by the Durban Art Gallery in 1999 to create Durban Icon a two-metre-high work in wood which remains one of the artist’s seminal works. In 2015, the Wits Art Museum hosted An Eye on the World, a survey exhibition of the artist’s career. Schütz’s idiosyncratic works are held in a number of important collections including the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Chase Manhattan Bank collection, New York.