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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


GILIOMEE, Jan. The inception, rise and fall of the Sasol Art Museum of the University of Stellenbosch. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2022, vol.62, n.1, pp.220-226. ISSN 2224-7912.

The Sasol Art Museum of the University of Stellenbosch (US) was established in 1991 to house the art collection of the US. At the time the US was already in possession of art pieces from various sources through the years. This included art works donated by students, the Solomon Caesar Malan and Maggie Laubser collections, and the comprehensive collection of Prof. Jdu P Scholtz of South African, European and exotic works of art. During the time of Prof. Muller Ballot as the first Director of the Museum, the collection grew rapidly with outstanding works of art. A number of large collections were donated by prominent artists, e.g. Christo Coetzee (150 items), Nel Erasmus (112), Johannes Meintjes (91) and Larry Scully (10), while bequests of valuable paintings were received from a number of supporters of the museum. Funds were bequeathed by an overseas visitor to buy a sculpture in bronze by the French artist Auguste Rodin. A number of prominent collectors also made donations from their collections, including Peter Freund from Germany who donated about 100 graphic works of important European artists of the early 20th century. With the appointment of a new Director in 2013, drastic changes started to take place. The name of the Sasol Art Museum as the prominent part of the US Museum disappeared and most of the acquired art works were moved to the storage room. The focus shifted from exhibiting artworks, art appreciation and art historical research to political transformation and social justice, as shown by the recent appointment of a Museum Curator: Research, Dialogue and Social Justice. This institution should not forsake its academic calling and should continue to strive to promote the exhibition, expansion, conservation, and study of visual art works as an important and top-ranking source of aesthetic material for research in art history as a present day discipline.

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