Our Story


Just like the art invites you to enjoy a distraction and escape into another world for a bit, we invite you to enjoy this wonderfully vibrant and colourful city, Johannesburg. The Gardenia Boutique Hotel will be a good place to start.

The hotel has been lovingly developed by an avid art collector who appreciates Tretchie’s use of colour and techniques in the many interpretations of the life and people of South Africa and beyond. Just so, the décor and style of hospitality delivered at the Gardenia Boutique Hotel is colourful and energised by our gorgeous weather and colourful cultures. Further on in the collectable Tretchikoff biography, Cloete goes on to explain the underlying message behind the paintings…

“Wonderful draftmanship. Brilliant colour in a drab world, pictures which anyone can understand but which at the same time tell a story and have mystery cleverly disguised in their apparent simplicity. To analyse one of his best known prints, “The Lost Orchid”. Who lost it? How did she lose it? Who gave it to her? What manner of woman or girl was she? Did she really love it and regret its loss or did she throw it away in a temper?”

“His [Trechikoff’s] infectious sincerity and unquenchable enthusiasm for the new, the fresh idea, the new leap into the adventure of the unknown, constitute his most compelling charm”.
~ Trechikoff by Howard Timmins



  • Born December 26, 1913 in Petrpavlosk Siberia (now Kazakhstan)
  • At the age of 5 years and due to the Revolution, the family moved to Russian town of Harbin in Northern China
  • In 1929 at only 16 years of age and after 1st big sale of art to Chinese-Eastern Railway, Tretchikoff ended up in Shanghai
    Met future wife, Natalie, at age 18.
  • They moved to Singapore at 20
  • 1941 when war broke out, Natalie and baby, Mimi. evacuated to South Africa
  • In 1942 aboard the Giang Bee he set sail for India but the ship was seized by Japanese
  • Accompanied by a few others in a lifeboat they landed on Java which unfortunately had recently been occupied by Japanese
  • He was held in solitary confinement for 3 months
  • After no ill will could be established they sent him of on parole to Batavia to work with a Japanese artist who so impressed by the man’s talents, allowed him be ‘forgotten’ by the authorities
  • However in March 1945 captured by Gestapo for questioning and held in custody until nearly end of the war
  • After war he located his wife and child and met them at Cape Town Station on 13 August 1946 for the first time in 5 years
  • Subsequently went on to exhibit in US and Canada; at Harrods in London when more than 205 000 people attended
  • Garlick’s in Cape Town and John Orr’s in Johannesburg were proud to host his local exhibitions.


Vladimir Tretchikoff went on to become one of the most commercially successful artists of his time. There is no mistaking a Tretchie!