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About Johannesburg Art Gallery



It's the biggest gallery on the sub-continent, with a collection larger than that of the South African National Art Gallery in Cape Town. Welcome to the Johannesburg Art Gallery, home to some of the most prized works not just in the country but also in the world.


 

A beautiful building  designed by Edward Lutyens
A beautiful building designed by Edward Lutyens
IF, as the saying goes, "art is escaping without running away from home", then the Johannesburg Art Gallery is the perfect place to hide: Located on the corner of Klein and King George Streets in Joubert Park, right in the buzzing central business district of Johannesburg, the gallery comprises 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.

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 the wife of mining magnate Lionel Phillips, established the first gallery collection using funds donated by her husband. Lady Phillips donated her lace collection, and arranged for her husband to donate seven oils and a Rodin sculpture to the collection.

Exquisite exhibition space
Exquisite exhibition space
Works by Rodin, Dante, Gabriel Rossetti, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas and Henry Moore grace the walls of gallery, while a comprehensive South African collection includes the works of Gerard Sekoto, Alexis Preller, Maud Sumner, Sydney Kumalo and Ezrom Legae.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery is housed in a beautiful building designed by Edward Lutyens, who was also involved in the design and building of New Delhi. The largest gallery on the sub-continent - with a collection larger than that of the SA National Art Gallery in Cape Town - it is a treasure trove in the midst of a bustling, vibrant city.

The collection is large enough so that at any given time the gallery exhibits but 10% of its works, whilst the rest remain in storage. With generous sponsorship from large corporates and the City of Johannesburg, as well as a substantial trust fund, the gallery continually adds to its collection, which includes a number of artefacts. Visitors can also see antiques, sculptures, drawings, prints and laceworks, while the gallery also hosts regular temporary thematic or artefact displays.

Sculptural gardens
Sculptural gardens
The collection was opened to the public in 1910, before the gallery itself had been built, and was then housed at the University of the Witwatersrand. The building was constructed 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.

What is now known as Johannesburg Art Gallery was opened to the public - without ceremony - in 1915, shortly 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 1986/7 extension.

In recent years, the gallery has made a concerted effort to procure more art works by contemporary South African artists, including traditional African pieces like jewellery items in the form of necklaces and bracelets made of beads. Works made of rock, wood, tyre, wire, cement, clay, ceramic and bronze and metal have also been collected by the museum, treating visitors to the distinctive flavour of local artwork.

INFO

dalou_thumbA valuable late 19th century bronze artwork has been stolen from the Johannesburg Art Gallery. If you come across it, or have any information, please contact the curator on 082 574 7606/725 3130. The sculpture, General Lazare Hoche by French sculptor Jules Dalou, is 71cm tall.

 

Plan your visit

Where to find us:

Joubert Park Gardens
King George Street
Joubert Park

Gautrain
Take the Gautrain to Park Station and board the Rea Vaya C3 bus. Drop off at the Johannesburg Art Gallery station.

Rea Vaya
From Soweto, take the Rea Vaya T1 bus. Drop off at the Johannesburg Art Gallery station.

 

Opening hours:

Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am – 5pm (Closed on Christmas Day and the Day of Goodwill)

 

ENTRANCE FEES:

Free

 

Facilities:

Disabled access

There is an book shop at the gallery, where visitors can purchase local and international art books, journals and exhibition catalogues.
 

Parking:

Parking is available in front of the gallery, drive through the King George Street entrance.

 

TOURS:

Trained voluntary guides conduct tours of the gallery’s permanent and temporary exhibitions. Tours are offered on request to schools, technikons, university students, community centres and organisations, and groups of a minimum of 10 people. One-on-one tours for physically or mentally challenged visitors are also offered.

 

Bookings must be made in advance by contacting Tiny Malefane +27 (0)11 725 3130 ext 213
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