Permanent Exhibition

Hester Rupert Art Museum

The Hester Rupert Art Museum showcases 126 artworks donated to the people of Graaff-Reinet by 106 artists of Southern Africa. Many of these are well known, celebrated artists of the 20th century. Works of various mediums which explore the representational, the abstract or surreal give visitors key insight to what is broadly considered South African Modernism.

This one small venue in its permanent display features some of the best examples of this period. The work of women painters such as Eleanor Esmonde-White, Nel Erasmus, Bettie Cilliers-Barnard, Anna Verschoyle, Cecily Sash and Judith Mason are set amongst some of the equally pioneering artists that preceded them. The likes of Ruth Prowse, Maggie Laubser, Cecil Higgs, Irma Stern, May Hillhouse and Maud Sumner.

The work of artists who were instrumental in shaping the art world such Cecil Skotnes, Walter Battiss and Eduardo Villa are featured. While the paintings by Carl Büchner, Maurice van Essche, Frans Claerhout, and Pranas Domsaitis lend gravity to the landscapes and figures they portray; Dirk Meerkotter and Eben van der Merwe push the boundaries of abstraction. A contrast to the playfulness of Andrew Murray and Johannes Meintjies, the dynamism of Christo Coetzee and surreal worlds of Fred Page, Diederick During and Alexis Preller. The South African Landscape is made iconic with the familiar scene of the Malay Quarter by Gregoire Boonzaaier, the expansive Namib landscape by Adolph Jentsch and the typical mountain scene of Hugo Naudé. Our wildlife is celebrated in the work of Fritz Krampe, Zakkie Eloff and Gerard de Leeuw.

Among these are other well-known artists such as Alfred Krenz, Jean Welz, Alexander Rose-Innes, Maureen Quin, Dirk Meerkotter and Larry Scully. The Hester Rupert Art Museum is a treasure and must see for art lovers either resident or passing through Graaff-Reinet.

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