Collections and exhibitions - South African National Gallery

Collections and exhibitions - South African National Gallery

The Permanent Collection contains outstanding examples of British, French, Dutch and Flemish art. Many leading British artists of the early 20th century are represented, including members of the New English Art Club and those of the Bloomsbury Group. A number of works by important artists such as John Walker, Michael Porter, Gary Wragg, Alan Davie and Ronald Kitaj were acquired in the 1980s. (Under-funding and the prohibitive prices of Western art have limited significant additions to these collections). At the same time, the extraordinary vitality and significance of the art which began to emerge in South Africa in the 1980s brought about a decided shift in acquisitions policy, which now concentrates on contemporary South African art.

From an initial bequest of 45 paintings presented in 1871 by Thomas Butterworth Bayley, the collection of Iziko South African National Gallery has grown to one of international stature, encompassing substantial holdings of South African, African and Western European art. The richness of the foreign collection is almost entirely due to the munificence of the early patrons of the Gallery.

Since 1990 one of the major tasks of South African National Gallery has been to establish a collection which acknowledges and celebrates the expressive culture of the African continent and particularly its southern regions. Having established an authoritative collection of beadwork, we have turned our attention to enriching our collection of indigenous sculpture, as well as the repatriation artefacts which were removed from the country over the last two hundred years.

To accommodate a full programme of temporary exhibitions, only a selection of the Permanent Collection is on display at any given moment. Our exhibition and education programmes are aimed at debunking cultural biases regarding attitudes and approaches to art.

They are actively writing and re-writing South African history and art history. And as a part of our campaign to make the Gallery accessible to all, projects are designed to encourage community involvement and participation.

A list of past exhibitions held at the Iziko South African National Gallery, some of which include informative online recent exhibitions.

Numbering over 400 items including paintings, prints and drawings, the Sir Abe Bailey Bequest is the largest bequest held at the SA National Gallery to this day. It also constitutes one of the largest collections of British sporting art held by any public art museum in the world.

Library hours
The Library is open to the public by appointment:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 to 16:00

Contact South African National Gallery Library

South African National Gallery, P O Box 61, Cape Town 8000
Tel: 021 467 4677
Fax: 021 467 4679

Contact - Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG)