Provenance Wine Label by Paul Du Toit (1965 – 2014)
Provenance Wine Label, Unknown, oil and acrylic on canvas, 1200 x 1400 mm unframed

Paul Du Toit (1965 – 2014)

Description for Provenance Wine Label by Paul Du Toit (1965 – 2014)



(Du Toit 2006)



The story behind the Provenance wine label from Saronsberg revolves around wine, happiness and the joy of drinking wine. I started off by using symbols that I’ve built up over the past 10 years. The symbols constantly reappear in my work. It is a very graphic line and form that I have achieved and kept as direct as possible. I started on the left hand side with a human-like figure; you’ll notice the secret grape in the palm of his hand. Making wine is an art form and wine is art you can drink so the figure is half human and half robot, indicating the wine making process. The lines from his hand that go all the way down to a stripy leg and a stripy stomach represent the actual tannins that connect during the fermentation stage, almost like a DNA strand.


His right hand is very mechanical and his eye reflects the joy of discovering the secret grape. The bare feet represent the primitive way of winemaking as well as grapes joined together.


The figure on the right is turned upside down, just to show that unexpected surprises happen.  By placing this figure on his head, I have managed to create a more playful feeling.


The yellow head represents a sun. The green body reminds of vineyards and land as seen from an aeroplane. Various other elements were added that represent hands, legs and double up as tools and man-made pathways that lead to the vineyards.


The background colour blended the images into one composition and show the figures swimming in an endless mass of white wine. 



(Du Toit 2012)



About Du Toit’s art


In the course of his life, Paul Du Toit created a personal dictionary of visual symbols, which inspired his vocabulary of scrawls. Du Toit abstracted his subject matter through a reduction of form, minimal lines and colour planes and unity of composition.


Simple cartoon-like faces are often balanced by stylised bodies. In Off the wall, the process of working on canvas from all four sides allowed the development of a broader and richer composition, incorporating multiple figures. 


A culmination of: lengthy hospital confinement because illness, during childhood; an early interest in the works of Klee and Picasso and regular interaction with terminally ill patients, had an influence on Du Toit and moved him to form a unique painting style. He admired the interesting observation of the children with whom he interacted, in their manner of representing colour, line and form. Du Toit’s style is uncomplicated, whimsical, uplifting, tong-in-check and simplified in almost a childlike manner.



Du Toit’s background


Paul du Toit carved a unique niche in the international arena through his very personal form of art: a linear, phantasmic world created from his mind and experiences.


Among the many awards: he has received a medal from the city of Florence in the Biennale Internationale Dell’arte Contemporanea. He was nominated for the Daimler Chrysler Sculpture Award in 2002. He has worked with former president Nelson Mandela on several occasions and international musicians on the 46664 campaign and the establishment of Mandela Day. He also collaborated with another Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on a handmade illustrated artist’ book at Pace Prints in New York where Paul opened a studio in 2011.





Du Toit, L. Paul du Toit’s insights about his works in the Saronsberg Art Collection. (Personal Communication, October 2012).


Du Toit, L. Paul du Toit. [O] Available: 

[Accessed 18 November 2014]


McCarthy, S. 2006. The confines of Paul du Toit, in Paul du Toit fighting with my weak hand, edited by Pippa Tsilik. PlanetPaul: Cape Town. 31-32.


Shaman, SS. 2006. The confines of Paul du Toit, in Paul du Toit fighting with my weak hand, edited by Pippa Tsilik. PlanetPaul: Cape Town. 17-20.


Tsilik, P. (ed). 2006. Paul du Toit. (An exhibition catalogue for the exhibition titled Fighting with my weak hand). PlanetPaul Ltd: Cape Town.