Fernand F. HAENGGI

initiator of the PELMAMA PERMANENT ART COLLECTION and the former PELMAMA ACADEMY SOWETO projects and well-known SA art dealer and collector


A brief curriculum vitae relating to his involvement in the SA art scene

Born on:    28.1.1934 in Dijon, Burgundy, France

Parents were:     Walter Heinrich Haenggi (1896-1984) (Swiss) and Fernande Marie-Louise Haenggi-Gruber (1904-2000) (French)

Has one brother:     Dr. Henri René Haenggi (*1938)

Lived in Greater New York area USA until 1937, Basel CH 1938-1950, St. Gallen CH 1950-1954, South Africa 1954-1993 (Cape Town and mainly Johannesburg), returned to his home country Switzerland in 1993, residing in Basel CH since 1997. 

In 1968, married Caroline Mary Haenggi-Nicholson (*1946) at St. Francis, Flora, Marquard, OFS;  they have 3 children: Françoise C. (*1970), Alexander W. (*1973) and Henriette L. (*1973). 


Art activities as from 1961

Coming out of a Swiss banking background, as from mid-1954 worked in South Africa in the administrative fields in industry, in financial services, investment and merchant banking, as well as in food exports to African countries, getting fortuitously involved in the SA art scene as from 1961 (part-time until end of 1965, thereafter full-time).

Co-owner and co-director of Gallery 101, Johannesburg, established jointly with his mother, Mme. FML Haenggi, operating as from 1.2.1961. The Gallery 101 Group had at its peak 3 branches in Johannesburg (Rand Central, Hollard Street, Hyde Park Corner).

Left the 101 Group on 31.7.1972 to start his own gallery, taking over the Hyde Park Corner Branch in Johannesburg, operating henceforth as Gallery 21 Johannesburg, concentrating on top modern South African and international art.

Simultaneously operated a branch in the UK from 1974-1976, Gallery 21 London at Grafton Street Wl, the first ever Southern hemisphere commercial gallery in London, without any financial support from South African public or corporate bodies, presenting top South African besides international artists such as Clavé, Tàpies, Miro, Hockney, Rosenquist etc.

In 1974 and 1975 had a stand at the ART 5'74 and ART 6'75 in Basel , presenting contemporary South African artists (paintings and sculptures) and SA and international graphics (also included in the ART 7'76 catalogue, but withdrew from Fair). 

Moved to the Johannesburg city centre in 1977, carrying on as Gallery 21; closed the active gallery business on 31.3.1993 due to economic and other fundamental changes taking place in South Africa.


Other activities, promotions and many "firsts" in the arts in South Africa

Organised the first SA exhibitions of Inuit art, Tengenenge art, Makonde art, graphic art from Portugal, Italy, Japan; organised various exhibitions in Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Bloemfontein, Windhoek and Gaborone. 

In 1976 organised two major retrospective exhibitions at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Tadeusz Jaroszynski and Karin Jaroszynska - 59 paintings and Zoltan Borbereki - 86 sculptures and 43 large drawings).

During 1977/78, established the detailed concept of the museums and workshop project of The Haenggi Foundation Inc., an Association not for Gain registered in 1978.

In 1979 organised a Norman CATHERINE retrospective exhibition at Rand Afrikaans University (R.A.U.), Johannesburg, a total of 131 works.

In 1979, organised a Lucas SITHOLE retrospective exhibition at Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, which was then shown at the Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria (1979/80), a total of 61 sculptures from public, corporate and private collections.


Publishing activities

1974    published book on Armando BALDINELLI by A. Werth (38 col., 43 b/white plates), jointly with artist;

1974    published 78 original graphics by 9 South African artists under the "EDITIONS 21" seal;

1977    published two sets of 8 colour postcards on Zoltan BORBEREKI and Norman CATHERINE;

1979    published book on Lucas SITHOLE (4 col., 105 b/white plates), jointly with artist;

1981    published book on Zoltan BORBEREKI (33 col., 12 b/white plates), jointly with artist.

2014    published privately his autobiography "Africa - A Chronicle - 40 Years of Dreaming" in a limited ed. 40 - ISBN 978-3-033-04487-6 - 232 pp 501 ill.

2015    published 2nd book on Lucas SITHOLE 1931-1994 - Highlights - ISBN 978-3-033-04655-9 -  204 pp 184 ill.


Other involvements in the SA educational field

1965    Chairman of Southern Transvaal Branch, South African Association of Arts, Johannesburg

1981    Member of Selection Committee, Watercolour Society of SA, Johannesburg



1987    Member of Pilot Committee appointed by the then Minister of Education & Development Aid to launch the establishment of the proposed PELMAMA ACADEMY SOWETO as a Technical College, offering formal courses in Art, Music, Drama and Dance in Soweto as from 1988, following upon requests emanating from various black people within Soweto, supported by a Feasibility Report prepared by Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg.

For a number of years, until 1996, was actively involved in getting SA and international support for cash bursaries to the PELMAMA ACADEMY SOWETO, as well as in sending thousands of books donated mainly from Europe and the USA to the PELMAMA ACADEMY SOWETO,  the Eastside College Troyeville, Johannesburg, the National School of the Arts Braamfontein, Johannesburg, and other cultural Institutions in Johannesburg and Pretoria. International appeals for  support ceased when the PELMAMA ACADEMY SOWETO changed its name and was downgraded by the New Government.


Promoting art from South Africa since returning to Switzerland

1995    Organised Lucas SITHOLE Memorial Exhibition of 26 sculptures at Galerie der Kunstsammlung Unterseen/Interlaken West, Switzerland, opened by the then SA Ambassador;

1996    Organised various solo and group exhibitions of and including South African artists at Galerie Rosengarten Thun, Switzerland;

1997    Opened own gallery in Basel in rented premises - Artimex Fine Arts AG. - presenting SA art;

1998    Forced to close gallery in Basel by 31.12.98, the owner having meanwhile sold the premises.

2001    Put up two websites maintained on a voluntary basis, presenting to the world South African art from the PELMAMA PERMANENT ART COLLECTION, as well as major sculptures by Lucas SITHOLE (1931-1994) from various collections in South Africa and abroad. The PELMAMA website in addition features the Johannesburg Art Scene from the 60's to the 80's with numerous exhibition listings and images, as a brief survey.

2003    A third site presents some works from his personal collection, and a fourth site put up in 2005 aims to present archival material in connection with the Johannesburg art scene from the 60s to the 90s.


Selected bibliography

Various issues of "Men of Achievement" (UK), "Who's Who in the World" (USA), "Who's Who in Art" (UK);

1983    "Des Suisses pas comme les autres" (JF Duval) (Construire et l'Aire) 1983, pp. 101/103

1992    "Images of Man" (EJ de Jager) (SA), 1992, p. 36

2007    Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein - A donation from the PELMAMA Permanent Art Collection", pp. 5, 9, 11

2009    Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria - A donation from the PELMAMA Permanent Art Collection", var. contributors



Please click on selected personal images for additional info!

Updated 19th March, 2017

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