Museums, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens

ID #4984

Hester Rupert Art Museum, Graaff-Reinet, Karoo, Eastern Cape.

Housed in the old Dutch Reformed Mission Church that dates from 1821.† It is the fifth oldest building in South Africa and one of three remaining Dutch Reformed churches built on the traditional cruciform plan. Such designs express a centralised idea. Following the Reformation, Protestants borrowed this tenet from the Italian Renaissance, incorporating it into their church architecture. Dutch architect Hendrick de Kayser, who designed the Noorderkerk (1620) in Amsterdam, influenced church building traditions at the Cape.† The first Dutch Reformed church in Cape Town had a Greek Cross design based on the Noorderkerk.† The old Mission Church in Graaff-Reinet had an uneven cruciform design with three long arms and one short one that was used as the vestry.

The building was saved from demolition in 1965 when the Rembrandt Group bought it and had it restored as an art museum.† It opened its doors to visitors as an art museum, with a total of 90 works donated by 83 artists, on July 26 1966.† The building and artworks were donated in trust to the Town Council.† The museum was named after Dr Anton Rupertís late mother. It was declared a national monument on October 4 1986.

To date the collection comprises 126 works by 106 artists. Most of the collection is devoted to works produced during the 1960ís.† It includes works by Walter Batiss, Maggie Laubscher, Judith Mason, Alexis Preller, Irma Stern, Edouardo Villa, and Jean Welz. The Karoo depictions of Titus Ballot, Pranas Domsaitis and Anna Verschoyle stimulate the senses.† The philosophically inclined will relate to the art of Zoltan Borbereki, Diederick During and Fred Page.† This small, focused collection is a significant art-historical resource in the Karoo.

Graaff-Reinet is on the N9 south of Middelburg,† which is at the intersectionof the N9 with the N10.††† ASHester

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Last update: 2009-07-27 17:47
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.0

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