Christo Coetzee was born in Johannesburg in March 1929. Growing up in Turffontein, he had no lack of material to spark his imagination.
He attended Wits University. Thereafter, he had his first solo exhibition in Cape Town. He went to London with a Postgraduate scholarship from Wits.
In 1956, through the mediation of the British Council, Coetzee received funds from the Italian government to go to Italy for the first four months of that year. In Japan Coetzee was introduced to the avant-garde Gutai Group. Before his return to Paris in early 1960 they invited him to exhibit his new works in Osaka at the Takashimaya gallery. At the end of January 1961 he had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Stadler, and then, immediately after, travelled back to Johannesburg to have his first exhibition in 10 years on home soil. He spent most of the next three years in Paris, and his second solo exhibition at the Galerie Stadler took place in 1963.
He left Paris after living and working there for 10 years and visited South Africa for a short while. He then settled in Spain.
A second retrospective exhibition of Coetzee’s works was held in the Pretoria Art Museum in 1983, showing 81 works from 1965 to 1983. A third retrospective took place at the University of Stellenbosch on his 70th birthday in 1999.
Coetzee died in Tulbagh at the age of 71 in November of 2000.