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La Motte - New art exhibition at La Motte Museum: Thoughtful Journey – a celebration of female artists

Conservation of the South African art heritage has always been a passion at La Motte Wine Estate. With the presentation of a new exhibition in the La Motte Museum, a precious selection of works by respected names in South African art is shared with art lovers. Amongst the 22 artists whose works are exhibited are Irma Stern, Maggie Laubser and Bettie Cilliers-Barnard.

Entitled Thoughtful Journey – a celebration of female artists, the exhibition focuses on female artists, born during the period late 19th century until early 20th century, who have contributed and, in some cases, are still contributing to the broad development of art in the country. The exhibition title was inspired by the fact that all these artists gained inspiration through their travels. The landscapes, cultures, people (family, friends and strangers) left a lasting impression on the artists and are employed as guidance on both their artistic explorations and personal journeys.

Apart from their legacy in works of art, these celebrated ladies made a major contribution to the advancement of Art in South Africa since the early 1900’s, establishing art societies and institutions, while being founder members and honorary members of art groups and associations. Such groups and institutions included the South African Academy of Science and Arts (Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns), South African Society of Artists, Eastern Province Society of Arts and Crafts, the South African National Gallery, as well as the New Group, Amadlozi Group and Bloemfontein Group, to name a few.

Seven of this elite group of artists were awarded the Medal of Honor for Painting by the South African Academy of Science and Arts – Maggie Laubser (1946); Cecil Higgs (1963); Irma Stern (1965); Maud Sumner (1971); Bettie Cilliers-Barnard (1978); May Hillhouse (1980) and Judith Mason (2011).

The artists whose works are exhibited in the La Motte Museum were simultaneously active in various social, cultural and art groups, resulting in common ground in their careers. Not only did they all travel and exhibit internationally, they all received formal training abroad, most of them at famed art schools in Paris and London. They were also stimulated, inspired and guided by the various European art movements at the time. Some of them formed life-long friendships and participated in a number of group exhibitions, both nationally and abroad.

Works of all 22 of these renowned artists have, over the years, been collected by the Rembrandt and Rupert Art Foundations and all works, except for six on loan from the University Museum, Stellenbosch, are from these collections. The majority represents traditional genres of portrait, landscape and still-life created between 1920 and 1980. Each work does, however, clearly demonstrate the individual praised style of its creator, placing all works and artists in context to their contemporaries.

Artists whose works are exhibited:

Nita Spilhaus (1878 – 1967)

Florence Zerffi (1882 – 1962)

Ruth Prowse (1883 – 1967)

Dorothy Kay (1886 – 1964)

Maggie Laubser (1886 – 1973)

Irma Stern (1894 – 1966)

Cecil Higgs (1898 – 1986)

Maud Sumner (1902 – 1985)

Georgina Ormiston (1903 – 1967)

Elsa Dziomba (1906 – 1970)

Nerine Desmond (1908 – 1993)

May Hillhouse (1908 – 1989)

Bettie Cilliers-Barnard (1914 – 2010)

Eleanor Esmonde-White (1914 – 2007)

Anna Verschoyle (1920 – 1972)

Marjorie Wallace (1925 – 2005)

Cecily Sash (1925 – )

Nel Erasmus (1928 – )

Adele White (1931 – 1987)

Marianne Podlashuc (1932 – 2004)

Maureen Quin (1934 – )

Judith Mason (1938 - )

With the works of such an acclaimed group of artists exhibited together, Thoughtful Journey – a celebration of female artists, offers a wonderful opportunity to view works by some of the earliest influential female artists in South Africa – uniquely on a wine estate.

For more information, please visit, T +27 (0)21 876 8000, E

Even though the first art society, South African Fine Arts Society (later [1871] to be South African Fine Arts Association), was established in 1850, with the first exhibitions to be held annually in 1851 and 1852, the presence of female artists was almost non-existent. The artists exhibiting were either self-taught or guided by teachers schooled in England.

The La Motte Museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 09:00 – 17:00
Admission to the exhibition is free of charge
The exhibition will run until June 2016

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