Johannesburg Art Gallery

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Johannesburg Art Gallery
Established 1915
Location Klein and King George streets, Joubert Park, Johannesburg

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is an art gallery located in Joubert Park, in the central business district of Johannesburg, South Africa. The building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and consists of 15 exhibition halls and sculpture gardens. It houses collections of 17th-century Dutch paintings, 18th and 19th-century British and European art, 19th-century South African works, a large contemporary collection of 20th-century local and international art and a print cabinet containing works from the 15th century to the present.

Collection[edit]

Florence, Lady Phillips by 1903 Oil on canvas 193 x 155 cm by Giovanni Boldini (1842–1931) Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane

The initial collection was put together by Sir Hugh Lane, and exhibited in London in 1910 before being brought to South Africa. Florence, Lady Phillips, an art collector and wife of mining magnate Lionel Phillips, established the first gallery collection using funds donated by her husband.[1] Lady Phillips donated her lace collection, and arranged for her husband to donate seven oils and a Rodin sculpture to the collection. The current collection includes works by Auguste Rodin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Herbert Ward and Henry Moore, and South Africans such as Gerard Sekoto, Walter Battiss, Alexis Preller, Maud Sumner, Sydney Kumalo, Ezrom Legae and Pierneef. It also houses an extensive collection of the work of contemporary local artists.

History[edit]

A bitter Curacao by William Orpen, 1900.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery collection was opened to the public in 1910, before the gallery itself had been built, and was housed at the University of the Witwatersrand. The architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, came to South Africa in 1910 to examine the site and begin the designs, after Lady Florence Phillips had secured funding from the city for a purpose-built museum. The building was built with a South-facing entrance, but was not completed according to the architect's designs - no part of the museum was broken down to let in the light. It was opened to the public, without ceremony, in 1915 - just after the start of the First World War. The gallery was extended during the 1940s with East-West wings along the South galleries according to the Lutyens' design. The present North facade and galleries were constructed during the 1986–87 extension.[2][3]

Regeneration[edit]

As a major focus of urban regeneration programmes, the gallery provides the base for the Joubert Park Public Art Project and is developing links with awareness groups and community centres based in the surrounding urban area.

Thefts[edit]

  • June 2002 'St Thomas' by El Greco.
  • August 2002 'Suitcase' by Kendell Geers. Sculpture recovered in a damaged state.
  • 1990s 'Talion' by Gavin Younge. This large cast-bronze sculpture was commissioned by the Gallery as part of its Centenary celebrations in 1986. Thieves stole it by cutting bits off using a portable generator and an angle grinder fitted with a metal-cutting disc. Despite an insurance payout, the Gallery never recast the missing sections.
  • January 2011 'General Hoche' by Jules Dalou.
  • September 2011 'Mourning Woman' by Sydney Kumalo, 'Peter Pan' by Romano Romanelli and 'King of the Universe' by Ernest Ullman.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johannesburg Art Gallery - Reviews and Ratings of Sights in Johannesburg - New York Times Travel
  2. ^ Jillian Carman Uplifting the Colonial Philistine: Florence Phillips and the making of the Johannesburg Art Gallery 2006 Johannesburg: Wits University Press ISBN 1-86814-436-4
  3. ^ city of johannesburg - An artistic treasure house in the middle of Joburg