Durban Art Gallery – A Diverse Collection

South Africa's Durban Art Gallery boasts an extensive display of artworks both historical and contemporary. From the KwaZulu-Natal collection with its artifacts right up to International and English collections, the Durban Art Gallery is a magical walk through the world of fine arts. Among the artworks are pieces by renowned South Africans such as Penny Siopis and Andrew Verster as well as anonymous beadwork, clay items and carvings. Keen art aficionados will certainly want to stop in for a few hours at this remarkable gallery.

Durban Art Gallery had its beginnings back in 1892 when engineer Cathcart William Methven donated a painting to the local Town Council. Following this first contribution, a number of other works were presented and purchased. Colonel Whitwell, a well-known philanthropist, donated some 400 art works to the Durban Gallery in 1920. Amongst these fine works were paintings from Holland, Britain and France as well as Chinese ceramics, Lalique vases and Rodin bronzes. Pieces by local crafters and artists were included in the Gallery’s collection starting in 1970. As Durban Art Gallery grew it began placing emphasis on art works that would demonstrate South Africa’s grand cultural diversity. Today, the gallery houses some 3 500 works. Aside from displaying a grandiose collection, the Durban Art Gallery is dedicated to creating an awareness of local and international arts through workshops, films and other activities.

The KwaZulu-Natal Art Collection features the very painting that started it all. This is the “Durban Bay from Claremont”. It is surrounded by other early artists from the region including Nils Anderson, Paton and Sénèque. Through this collection it is possible to identify a change from works influenced by European styles to that which became more influenced by indigenous art as well as landscape and climate. Also amongst these impressive art works are traditional Zulu beadwork and pottery. Volunteer guides are available to walk you through the Durban Art Gallery and provide you with greater information on the beautiful art surrounding you. Guided tours are given in English, Afrikaans and Zulu. A number of fun-filled programs are also organized for the young ones so that they too can gain an appreciation for fine art. Durban Art Gallery certainly provides a thrilling look at South African and International art.

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