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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
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Historia vol.53 n.1 Durban  2008


Collecting South African Art in the 1930s: The Role of Martin du Toit


Die Versameling van Suid-Afrikaanse kuns in die 1930's: die rol van Martin du Toit



Jeanne van Eeden

Jeanne van Eeden is Head of the Department of Visual Arts, University of Pretoria. She is the co-editor of the book South African Visual Culture (Van Schaik, Pretoria, 2005) and assistant editor of the journal Image & Text (University of Pretoria)




The first head of the Department of Afrikaans Art and Culture at the University of Pretoria in the 1930s was Professor Martin du Toit, a well-known figure in Afrikaner cultural circles. His vision for the new department included the ideal of exposing students to the work of South African artists. He believed passionately in the future of the arts in South Africa and was enthusiastic in establishing them in the so-called "North", particularly in Pretoria. Martin du Toit was involved in many cultural bodies and activities and instituted regular art exhibitions under the auspices of the Department of Afrikaans Art and Culture in the Macfadyen Memorial Hall in Pretoria. These exhibitions focused on contemporary South African artists and brought the work of groundbreaking painters such as Irma Stern and Maggie Laubser to the attention of the public. Du Toit also wanted to build up a representative collection of Afrikaner material culture and visual art at the university. This article examines this endeavour, contextualises it in relation to aspects of public art collecting in South Africa during the 1930s, and shows how Du Toit laid the foundation for the current art collection of the University of Pretoria.

Key words: Afrikaner; Anton Hendriks; art collecting; Department of Afrikaans Art and Culture; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Macfadyen Memorial Hall; Martin du Toit; modernism; national art; nationalism; Pretoria; South African art; University of Pretoria


Die eerste hoof van die Departement Afrikaanse Kuns en Kultuur aan die Universiteit van Pretoria in die 1930's was professor Martin du Toit, 'n bekende figuur in Afrikanerkultuurkringe. Deel van sy visie vir die nuwe departement het die gedagte ingesluit om studente aan die werk van Suid-Afrikaanse kunstenaars bloot te stel. Hy het hartstogtelik geglo in die toekoms van die kunste in Suid-Afrika en was ywerig om hulle in die sogenoemde "Noorde", en spesifiek in Pretoria, te vestig. Martin du Toit was by vele kultuurliggame en aktiwiteite betrokke en het gereelde kunsuitstallings onder die vaandel van die Departement Afrikaanse Kuns en Kultuur in die Macfadyen Memorial Hall in Pretoria gereël. Hierdie tentoonstellings het op kontemporêre Suid-Afrikaanse kunstenaars gefokus en die werk van innoverende skilders soos Irma Stern en Maggie Laubser aan die publiek bekendgestel. Du Toit wou ook 'n verteenwoordigende versameling van Afrikaner materiële kultuur en visuele kuns by die Universiteit saamstel. Hierdie artikel ondersoek dié poging en kontekstualiseer dit teen die agtergrond van aspekte van openbare kunsversameling in Suid-Afrika gedurende die 1930's. Dit dui ook aan hoe Du Toit hierdeur die grondslag vir die huidige kunsversameling van die Universiteit van Pretoria gelê het.

Sleutelwoorde: Afrikaner; Anton Hendriks; Departement Afrikaanse Kuns en Kultuur; Johannesburg Art Gallery; kuns versameling; Macfadyen Memorial Hall; Martin du Toit; modernisme; nasionale kuns; nasionalisme; Pretoria; Suid-Afrikaanse kuns; Universiteit van Pretoria



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1. These exhibitions took place between 1931 and 1951. J. Joubert, "The Art Exhibitions Held in the Macfadyen Memorial Hall, 1931-1951." M.A. dissertation, University of Pretoria, 1989.         [ Links ]
2. Where possible, I refer to the dialogue between modern art and national art in this article in terms of their critical reception at the Macfadyen Hall exhibitions.
3. A significant event was the Empire Exhibition held in Johannesburg from 15 September 1936 to 15 January 1937. British, Canadian and South African art was exhibited and the South African art section was convened and curated by Martin du Toit. Although many of the 180 South African works on display were criticised for being too modern, national recognition was accorded to many contemporary artists. Die Vaderland, 23 September 1936, p14& Die Vaderland, 2 Oktober 1936, p 16; there is also extensive correspondence between M.L. du Toit and the exhibiting artists in the Art Archives, University of Pretoria.
4. The hostility between the intelligentsia in the Transvaal and the Western Cape centred on issues such as cultural provincialism and divergent views regarding race, nationalism and capitalism. H. Giliomee, The Afrikaners. Biography of a People (Tafelberg, Cape Town, 2003), pp 415-420.
5. Dutch-born Hendricks, later Hendriks (1899-1975), was the Head of the Art School at the Pretoria Technical College from 1928 to 1931 and Director of the Johannesburg Art Gallery from 1937 to 1964. [E.L. Basson, "Die Bydrae van Erich Mayer tot die Vestiging van 'n Estetiese Bewussyn en die Bevordering van 'n Kunsidentiteit in Suid-Afrika tot aan die einde van die 1930's". DLitt et Phil tesis, Universiteit van Suid-Afrika, 2003, p 171; J. Carman, "Acquisition Policy of the Johannesburg Art Gallery with Regard to the South African Collection, 1909-1987", South African Journal of Cultural and Art History, 2, 3, July 1988, p 206]. Hendriks was a supporter of modernism and offered talks on the topic in Pretoria [Die Vaderland, 13 Februarie 1934 (Waardering van Moderne Kuns -Lesing deur A Hendriks Pretoriase Ouersvereniging Gistermiddag)] and was a part-time lecturer at the Department of Afrikaans Art and Culture for four years. [A. Lamprecht, "Florrie's Dream: a History of the Johannesburg Art Gallery", Diploma Museology, University of Pretoria, 1991, p 31].
6. E. Berman, Art and Artists of South Africa. An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary and Historical Survey of Painters and Graphic Artists since 1875 (Balkema, Cape Town, 1983), pp 7, 10.
7. M. Hillhouse, "Painting in South Africa - 1954", Standpunte, 9, 3, 1954, p 23.
8. F. Harmsen, Looking at South African Art (Van Schaik, Pretoria, 1985), pp 199, 201.
9. Berman, Art and Artists, pp 7-8.
10. M.L. du Toit, "Art in Afrikaans Culture", in W. Knox (ed), The Arts in South Africa (Knox, Durban, 1933), p 188.
11. "... die publiek se smaak ... [is] verpes deur die 'skilderyfabrieke' wat sommige 'artiste' opgerig het as 'n uitwas van die romantiese realisme. In sy populärste vorm: 'n suikersoete landskappie van Tinus de Jongh en ander, het ... die ontwikkeling van 'n gesonde kunswaardering in die Unie belemmer". M. Bokhorst, "Die Kuns van 'n Kwarteeu", Standpunte, 9, 3, 1954, p 38.
12. Du Toit, "Art in Afrikaans Culture", pp 187-188. Although this comment indicates the currency of the link between naturalism and conservative taste, for Du Toit this offered the potential for aesthetic education.
13. Bokhorst, "Die Kuns van 'n Kwarteeu", pp 38-39.
14. Bokhorst, "Die Kuns van 'n Kwarteeu", pp 38-40.
15. Du Toit, "Art in Afrikaans Culture", p 188 [emphasis added].
16. A. du Preez, "Die Pretoria Art Association en die Pretoria News: Georganiseerde Kunsaktiwiteite in Pretoria, 1902-1906", South African Journal of Art and Architectural History, 3, 1-4, 1993, pp 44-58.
17. According to the constitution of the Afrikaanse Kunsvereniging, its aims were: promoting Afrikaans art; collecting Afrikaans art and cultural artefacts; hosting art exhibitions; and encouraging artists by means of personal contact with them [Ons Vaderland, 23 October 1931, p 1 (Kunsvereniging Word in Pretoria Gestig): "Bevordering veral van ´n eie Afrikaanse kuns in al sy vertakkinge; om 'n groot versameling van Afrikaanse kuns- en kulturele voorwerpe op te bou deur sistematiese versameling van sulk voorwerpe of in eiendom of in leen vir die Afrikaanse Kultuurstoel aan U.P; Afrikaanse kunstenaars aantemoedig deur belangstelling, deur tentoonstellings vir hulle te hou of ondersteun en om ware kunslewe te kweek deur persoonlike kontak met hulle"]. Martin du Toit was elected as permanent president in his capacity as head of the Department of Afrikaans Art and Culture.
18. Basson, "Die Bydrae van Erich Mayer", pp 32, 38.
19. As early as 1906, the Pretoria Town Council commissioned artworks from Frans Oerder and Anton van Wouw to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Pretoria. In December 1911, the Town Council donated £100 to buy paintings to form the nucleus of an art collection [Pretoria News, 4 April 1911, p 3]. This small collection was housed in the Town Hall and expanded by the addition of the Michaelis Bequest in 1932. According to the Mayor of Pretoria, Ivan Solomon, a special room was to be set aside for this collection in the new Town Hall in Paul Kruger Street, which was inaugurated in 1935 [Die Vaderland, 25 February 1933, p 6 (Kunsgalery vir Pretoria?)]. In June 1935, Irma Stern gave a lecture in Pretoria entitled "The relativity of colour and form in art", which she illustrated with examples from the Michaelis collection and the Town Clerk, M.G. Nicholson, "appealed to those present to do all they could towards the establishment of an art gallery" [Pretoria News, 14 June 1935, p 5 (Municipal Art Gallery)]. On occasion the Town Council bought artworks at the Macfadyen Hall exhibitions; for example in 1933 it acquired Pondo Woman and Fishing Boats, Kalk Bay by Irma Stern, and in 1935 Pierneefs Rustenburg Kloof.
20. National Archives of South Africa (hereafter NASA), Transvaal Archives (hereafter TAB), Pretoria: Estate of M.L. du Toit, volume 3537/38; the family home "Palmyra" was in Tulbagh. See also: J. Joubert, "M.L. du Toit's Contribution to Artistic Activities at the University of Pretoria, 1931 to 1938". BA Honours, University of Pretoria, 1986.
21. P.G. Nel, "Eerste Hoogleraar: Kuns en Kultuur", South African Journal of Cultural History, 1, 2, 1984, p 31.
22. Art Archives, University of Pretoria (hereafter AAUP): M.L. du Toit file, Curriculum Vitae, 25 October 1928, p 1.
23. The affinities between leading Afrikaner nationalist intellectuals in the North and German doctrines regarding ethnicity and culture in the 1930s need further scrutiny [see, for example, Giliomee, The Afrikaners, pp 416-419]. Martin du Toit and his colleagues at the University of Pretoria, Professors W.A. Willemse, G. Cronjé and P.R. Skawran, were apparently under the influence of German fascism in the 1930s, and this has a bearing on how Du Toit's ideas regarding art, nationalism and culture evolved. See a letter from Professor F.G.E. Nilant, a previous head of the Department History of Art at the University of Pretoria to Doctor A.E. Duffey, circa December 1986. The letter, in my possession, has a two-page commentary on Joubert's research paper, "M.L. du Toit's Contribution to Artistic Activities at the University of Pretoria, 1931 to 1938". A comprehensive and critical unpacking of Martin du Toit's role in the cultural, political and ideological context of the 1930s is overdue, but cannot be attempted within the scope of this article. Elizabeth Delmont, for instance, offers an intriguing view of Afrikaner nationalism's cooption of the painter Maggie Laubser in the 1930s when figures such as Martin du Toit located her modernist work "at a pivotal point analogous to the position where Afrikaner culture brokers were constructing the Afrikaner culture, both forward-looking and progressive and yet also firmly rooted in a European heritage" [De Arte, 64, September 2001, p 14 (Laubser, Land and Labour: Image-making and Afrikaner Nationalism in the Late 1920s and Early 1930s")]. The tension between Du Toit's Afrikaner nationalism and his relationship with Jews such as Irma Stern, also deserves to be teased out. It is possible that Du Toit's friendship with Stern started when he and Stern's husband, Johannes Prinz, taught in the Department of German at the University of Cape Town. Prinz was appointed Professor of German at the University of Cape Town in 1926 [M. Arnold, Irma Stern. A Feast for the Eye (Fernwood, Cape Town, 1995), p 19] and Martin du Toit lectured in the same Department from 1926 to 1927.
24. C.H. Rautenbach (ed), Ad Destinatum. Gedenkboek van die Universiteit van Pretoria (Voortrekkerpers, Johannesburg, 1960), pp 127-128. According to this source, the founding of the Department of Afrikaans Art and Culture was a direct result of the intervention of the Afrikaner Broederbond and the Union Afrikaans Language and Culture Conference that was held in Bloemfontein in December 1929, leading to the formation of the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurverenigings (Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations); Martin du Toit was one of the 25 delegates sent from Pretoria to the conference.
25. Anonymous, "Obituary of M.L. du Toit", Trek, 26, 34, 1938, p 11.
26. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, Secretary of Board - M.L. du Toit, 10 October 1936. Most of the correspondence concerning Martin du Toit's health is in his file in the Central Archives, University of Pretoria (hereafter CAUP).
27. NASA, TAB: Estate of M.L. du Toit, volume 3537/38, Death certificate. The cause of death was given as chronic enteritis and peritonitis, accompanied by cachexia and marasmus, both acute forms of emaciation and wasting away. He had also periodically suffered from amoebic dysentry and colitis. In his will, he left all his possessions to his sister in Tulbagh, but his brother A.E. du Toit and a few friends were each allowed to choose one of his paintings. See also: Anonymous, "Obituary of M.L. du Toit", p 11.
28. For further details of the history of the Department, see: Rautenbach, Ad Destinatum, p 128.
29. S. Marks and S. Trapido, "The Politics of Race, Class and Nationalism," in S. Marks and S. Trapido (eds), The Politics of Race, Class and Nationalism in Twentieth-century South Africa (Longman, London, 1987), p 10; Giliomee, The Afrikaners, p 419.
30. I. Hofmeyr, "Building a Nation from Words: Afrikaans Language, Literature and Ethnic Identity, 1902-1924", in Marks and Trapido (eds), The Politics of Race, pp 107, 109-111.
31. E.J. Botha, "Die Lewe en Werk van Maggie Laubser". MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, 1964, p 4.
32. A. Neethling-Pohl, "M.L. du Toit", Castalia, 2, 1938, p 4.
33. Mrs K. Roodt-Coetzee, Personal communication, Pretoria, 7 April 1986. Coetzee was a student under Martin du Toit and later a temporary lecturer in the Department.
34. In a letter to Laubser, Du Toit remarked: "let me know if your paintings that are packed up must stay here, I could probably have sold more than a few of them". AAUP: Maggie Laubser file, M.L. du Toit - M. Laubser 20 June 1933. To Wolf Kibel, he wrote: "Couldn't you let me have a few new paintings which I could try to sell to one or other of my friends here. I think I have sold the two most attractive ones of the small collection I have here". AAUP: Wolf Kibel file, M.L. du Toit - W Kibel, 2 August 1934.
35. Professor S.P. du Toit Viljoen, Personal communication, Pretoria, 30 August 1986.
36. Mrs H.C. Steyn, Personal communication, Pretoria, 16 April 1986; Mrs K. Roodt-Coetzee, Personal communication, Pretoria, 7 April 1986.
37. Anonymous, "Obituary of M.L. du Toit", p 11. He was working on this series at the time of his death.
38. These articles sometimes comprised interviews with Martin du Toit; he also contributed to the Pretoria-based Afrikaans newspaper De Volkstem, using the pseudonym "P. Enseel".
39. Du Toit's formalist art criticism is obvious in a passage such as the following where he attempts to explain Stern's representation of semi-naked Pondo and Zulu figures: "it is not true to say that she concentrates only on the portrayal of the coloured races. Especially in South Africa this type of statement does much damage since we do not yet realise that the subject that is depicted, has very little to do with the intrinsic value of the artwork". M.L. du Toit, "Die Kunsontwikkeling van Irma Stern", in P.J. Nienaber (red.), Skone Kunste in Suid-Afrika (Afrikaanse Pers, Johannesburg, 1951), p 194 [emphasis added and my translation of: "maar dat sy haar slegs aan die skildering van die gekleurde rasse wy, is onwaar. Juis in Suid-Afrika doen so 'n bewering soveel skade waar ons nog nie besef nie dat die voorwerp, wat behandel word, so bloedweinig met die intrinsieke waarde van die kunswerk te doen het"].
40. Bulletin of the South African Academy for Literature and Arts, November 1934, 3, 15, pp 14-15. The standing art commission of the Academy had originally suggested that £100 be awarded to the best painting of "boerelewe" (boer life) -the painting had to include figures and represent traditional agricultural scenes and farm life, but this narrow category was rejected by the special art commission convened by Du Toit.
41. Anonymous, "Obituary of M.L. du Toit", p 11; Joubert, "M.L. du Toit's Contribution", p 13.
42. Die Vaderland, 7 April 1936, p 6 (Skoonheidskomitees in ons Stede Nodig).
43. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - Secretary of the Board, University of Pretoria, 15 October 1930.
44. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis na Europa 1931" (Report on Study Visit to Europe 1931), 19 August 1931. In particular, he mentions the British Museum, the British Royal Academy of Art, "The Modern London Group", the German Academy, current French art, the Rijksmuseum and modern Dutch architecture.
45. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis", pp 1-2.
46. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis", p 3: "om ... te sien wat die swart rasse in gunstige omstandighede op kultureel en kunstgebied [sic] kan voortbring".
47. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis", p 3.
48. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis", pp 3-4.
49. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis", p 4.
50. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis", p 4.
51. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis", p 5.
52. For example: AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - Director, Slade School of Arts, London, 20 August 1931; M.L. du Toit - E Schweickerdt, Pretoria, 28 September 1931.
53. Correspondence with the town clerks in the AAUP: M.L. du Toit file.
54. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, undated, unaddressed covering letter.
55. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - Manager, Pretoria Potteries, 1 June 1934.
56. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - J.J. Smith, Stellenbosch, 21 August 1931. Between 1916 and 1923, Smith was the editor of the newly-founded Afrikaans family magazine, De Huisgenoot, which stimulated a consciousness of culture and history under its Afrikaans readership [Giliomee, The Afrikaners, pp 375, 377], specifically by means of its so-called "Afrikaans" visual imagery [Hofmeyr, "Building a Nation", pp 111, 122].
57. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit, "Rapport oor Studiereis', pp 4-5: "Die departement is besig om 'n kunsversameling op te bou, wat werke van al die vernaamste Suidafrikaanse [sic] kunstenaars wil bevat. Reeds is daar werke van groot skilders en beeldhouers, asook 'n versameling van oudhede, soos medaljes, dokumente, rokke, kappies e.d.m.". This collection of cultural artefacts and memorabilia was part of the larger project of establishing and valorising Afrikaner culture. The rediscovery of folk cultures in Europe was an important means of establishing cultural links with the past and forging national identity. [M. Crang, Cultural Geography (Routledge, London, 1998), pp 166-167]. People such as Martin du Toit and Gustav Preller seem to have embraced similar ideological agendas.
58. Die Vaderland, 19 November 1932, p 13 (Jaarlikse Kunstentoonstelling vir Suid-Afrika?): "Hier is genoeg sale wat vir die doel ingerig kan word, en ek voel oortuig daarvan dat die Universiteit hiermee 'n groot diens aan Suid-Afrika en veral aan Transvaal sal bewys as hulle begin organiseer vir die verwesenliking van hierdie groot ideaal."
59. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - I.L. Lipshitz, Cape Town, 30 May 1934.
60. CAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - A. Elliott, Cape Town, 24 March 1933.
61. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - F. Eloff 7 April 1933.
62. Anonymous, "Obituary of M.L. du Toit", p 11. The word Castalides is derived from Greek mythology, designating the fountain called Castalia at Delphi that was sacred to the Muses. Castalides published its own journal, Castalia, Tydskrif vir Kuns en Kultuur (Castalia, Journal for Art and Culture), which contained contributions by leading figures such as Hendriks, Moerdyk, R.M. Titlestad and Gerrit Bon. The first issue appeared in 1933 and the second in 1938; thereafter it was incorporated into the annual journal Trek. Rautenbach, Ad Destinatum, p 334.
63. "Die Geskiedenis van Castalia, ons Kunsvereniging", Castalia, 1938, p 15. "In die verlede het ons reeds tentoonstellings van groot kunstenaars gereël, vooraanstaande kunstenaars gevra om toesprake te hou, 'n groot kunsaand gehou en verskillende uitstappies gedoen, w.o. een na die Johannesburgse kunsgalery. Ons doel is om elke jaar 'n goeie skilderstuk of beeldhouwerk aan te koop en ook om 'n kunsblad uit te gee". Trek, 21, 29, 1933, p 58.
64. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - J.E.A. Volschenk, 15 November 1933; the original cost of the painting was £10, but owing to Du Toit's influence, Volschenk brought down the price.
65. For more information about the general cultural activities of the Department of Afrikaans Art and Culture and Castalia, see Joubert, "M.L. du Toit's Contribution".
66. Rautenbach, Ad Destinatum, pp 249-254.
67. This building was taken over by the State Library in 1960, when the extra-mural section of the University moved to Proes Street.
68. CAUP: 7-1.2, Buitemuurse Afdeling Pamflette 1955-1970, "Iets oor Buitemuurs 1955", p 5.
69. CAUP: Extra-mural correspondence files for 1932, Registrar - Honorary Secretary, South African Biological Society, 1 June 1932.
70. CAUP: Extra-mural correspondence files for 1932, Registrar - Girls High School Pretoria, 19 March 1926; Registrar - YMCA, 4 August 1926; Registrar -Reverend S.N. Bishop, 9 September 1926; Registrar - SPCA, 15 October 1928; Registrar - Public Servant's Association, 24 March 1931; Registrar - Nature Cure Centre, 13 April 1931; W Abernethy - Miss Alice Burney, 14 May 1934.
71. AAUP: Art Collection of the University of Pretoria file, A.E. Duffey and F.G.E. Nilant, '"n Keur uit die Kunsbesit van die Universiteit van Pretoria", 1980, unpaginated.
72. CAUP: Extra-mural correspondence file, W. Abernethy - W. Wiles, 21 October 1935.
73. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - G. Boonzaier, 1 June 1934.
74. Mrs K. Roodt-Coetzee, Personal communication, Pretoria, 7 April 1986.
75. Mrs H.C. Steyn, Personal communication, Pretoria, 16 April 1986.
76. Du Toit commented in a newspaper: "in die laaste tye word ons oorlaai van tentoonstellinge, daaronder wel erkende kunstenaars soos Pierneef, Volschenk, ens, maar veral van kunstenaars' wat navolgelinge is van genoemde persone. Ons is siek van hierdie on-kuns". Die Vaderland, 17 September 1932, p 6 (Moses Kottler).
77. Commenting on the work of E.L.M. King, Du Toit remarked: "Haar werk is egter nie van die gewone soetsappige soort waarvan ons al so gewoond geraak het by Suid-Afrikaanse skilders en waarmee Pretoria so ryklik geseën is nie, nl. die werk van die Jakaranda skilders". Die Vaderland, 11 Oktober 1935, p 11 (Kunsuistalling op 17 Deser in Macfadyensaal).
78. See J. Joubert, "Exhibition of Modern German Graphic Artists in Pretoria, 1935", South African Journal for Cultural and Art History, 2, 3, 1988, pp 223-224.
79. The Star, 23 September 1933, p 15 (A S.A. Artist. Exhibition of Miss Maggie Laubser).
80. Hermes, "Van Kuns en Kunstenaars", Die Brandwag, 1, 11, 15 Oktober 1937, p 16.
81. M.G. Schoonraad, "Die Lewe en Werk van Walter Battiss met Besondere Verwysing na sy Grafiese Werk". MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, 1974, p 250.
82. Pierneef gave the opening speech at this exhibition. He congratulated Martin du Toit for the work he was doing in the North, and expressed the wish that this would inspire the whole Union and open the eyes of the Afrikaners regarding their own art treasures [Die Volkstem, 26 Junie 1935, p 5 (Afrikaners Wees Julle Self)]. The artists who exhibited were the so-called "modernists" Stern, Pierneef, Hendriks, Sumner, Laubser and Kibel, and the more conservative Mayer, Volschenk, Boonzaier, Florence Zerffi, Sidney Carter, Neville Lewis, Edward Roworth, Hugo Naudé, Oerder, Wenning, Enslin du Plessis, Nita Spilhaus, Gordon Pilkington and Francois Krige.
83. M. Arnold, "Visual Culture in Context: The Implications of Union and Liberation", in M. Arnold and B. Schmahmann (eds), Between Union and Liberation. Women Artists in South Africa 1910-1994 (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2005), p 11.
84. Arnold, "Visual Culture in Context", p 12.
85. J. van Rooyen, Maggie Laubser (Struik, Cape Town & Johannesburg, 1974), p 7.
86. Brander, "Kwaksalwery Onder die Dekmantel van 'Moderne Kuns'", Die Vaderland, 29 Oktober 1932, p 13; Brander, "Die Wispelturige Mode in die 'Moderne Kuns'", Die Vaderland, 25 Maart 1933, p 13. Arnold points out that in South Africa, white, mainly English-speaking female artists embraced modernism as it offered them the space for self-assertion and the opportunity to work against the grain of nationalism and patriarchy. Hence, artists such as Mary Stainbank, Bertha Everard and Irma Stern rejected the conservative art canon and adopted so-called trangressive forms of female behaviour. Arnold, "Visual Culture in Context", p 16.
87. The Star, 20 April 1933, p 11 (Brilliant Work by Miss Irma Stern). Two years previously, Laubser had been categorised as an exponent of the modern school of art, which she characterised by its "honesty of expression" and belief in "individual expression". Pretoria News, 27 November 1931, p 8 (Artistic Event); Die Vaderland, 13 Februarie 1934, p 11 (Waardering van Moderne Kuns - Lesing deur A. Hendriks Pretoriase Ouersvereniging Gistermiddag).
88. The artists included Gauguin, Van Gogh, Degas, Manet and Cézanne. The exhibition was opened by Irma Stern, and was called "the most representative exhibition of modern art ever shown in South Africa". Pretoria News, 11 June 1938, p 7 (Irma Stern's Art Exhibition in Technical College).
89. P. de V. Pienaar (red.), Die Kultuurgeskiedenis van die Afrikaner, p 324, quoted in N. Coetzee, "Pierneef en die Noordelike Romantiese Tradisie," Historia, 31, 1, 1986, p 11.
90. Du Toit's words were: "Gelukkig is kuns die terrein waar ons nóg van Afrikaner, nóg van Engelsman, nóg van Jood praat want kuns is die terrein waarop alle seksies van die bevolking mekaar op gelyke voet kan ontmoet". [Die Vaderland, 13 Oktober 1933, p 5 (Republiek Nodig vir Toekoms van Afrikaanse Kultuur, Malaniet-Professor se Gevolgtrekking); Die Vaderland, 23 September 1936, p 14 (Empire Exhibition)]. It is possible, within the political climate of the 1930s, that Du Toit was more concerned with stressing the parity between Afrikaans and English-speaking artists rather than emphasising the affinity between Afrikaner and Jew. Pierneef seems to have been more outspoken regarding the Jews and remarked in the Academy for Literature and Arts that British imperialism and Jewish artists had a negative influence on the development of Afrikaans visual art. [Bulletin of The South African Academy for Literature and Arts, November 1934, 3, 15, p 6; also see footnote 91 of this article].
91. See Basson, "Die Bydrae van Erich Mayer", p 188. In discussions of art exhibitions, the press frequently differentiated between Afrikaans and English-speaking artists, for example at the exhibition of twenty South African artists held in the Madfadyen Hall in June 1935, see: Die Vaderland, 28 June 1935, p 11 (Groot Tentoonstelling van Suid-Afrikaanse Skilderkuns).
92. According to Pierneef, "Ons moet die sieklike sentimentele vermy en alleen die grootsheid van ons land weergee, en ons volk leer dat kuns ook 'n godsdiens is ... laat ons onsself wees, en ons eie Afrikaanse stempel weergee om 'n eerlike opregtheid te openbaar". [Die Volkstem, 29 Junie 1935, p 5 (Afrikaners Wees Julle Self)]. Already in 1927, S.C. Lezard spoke at the Pretoria Technical College re "inculcation of South African National Art into the minds of the rising generation", and said he knew people like Pierneef, Mayer and Van Wouw were sympathetic to this cause. Pretoria News, 27 August 1927, p 6 (Pretoria's Technical College).
93. Basson, "Die Bydrae van Erich Mayer", pp 1-2, 172, 183. Art training was one ofthe issues about which these men had many ideological differences. Hence the series of articles by Mayer about national art in the Brandwag and Huisgenoot, and his lectures about the applied arts in which he pleaded for national art schools in order to save the disappearing tradition of Afrikaans folk-art. Die Vaderland, 19 Augustus 1933, p 6 (Lesing deur Erich Mayer 'Die Toegepaste Kunste in Suid-Afrika').
94. Basson, "Die Bydrae van Erich Mayer", p 14.
95. F.L. Alexander, Art in South Africa. Painting Sculpture and Graphic Art since 1900 (Balkema, Cape Town, 1962), pp 38-46. According to Alexander it was these motifs that distinguished South African art from the art of other countries. See also: J.F.W. Grosskopf, Hendrik Pierneef die Man en sy Werk (Van Schaik, Pretoria, 1945), p 18. Pierneef remarked that "the South African public is only really prepared to buy landscapes" (die Suid-Afrikaanse publiek [is] in hoofsaak eintlik net bereid om landskappe te koop). Martin du Toit similarly remarked in 1936 that Afrikaner artists felt attracted to the land and its inhabitants, and despite their strong feeling regarding colour, the coloured peoples played a leading role in their motifs. Die Vaderland, 23 September 1936, p 14 (Empire Exhibition).
96. Giliomee, The Afrikaners, p 402 [emphasis added].
97. According to Du Toit, "die verlies van sy vryheid [is] die oorwegende faktor in die weemoed en droefheid van die Afrikaner se kultuur". Die Vaderland, 13 Oktober 1933, p 5 (Republiek Nodig).
98. According to Du Toit, "in die hedendaagse skilderkuns van die Afrikaner is die Leitmotief ... tragies; in sy kern is selfs die gesellinge, vrolike Pierneef se kuns tragies, byna droefgeestig en bevange van 'n eensaamheid wat in essensie pessimisties en swaarmoedig is, ewe as in die werk van Volschenk, Maggie Loubser [sic] en ander Afrikaanse kunstenaars". Die Vaderland, 13 Oktober 1933, p 5 (Republiek Nodig).
99. Die Volkstem, 7 Junie 1935, p 2 ('n Besitting van Pretoria, J H Pierneef se Tentoonstelling); Die Vaderland, 28 Mei 1935, p 6 (Pierneef Slaan Nuwe Weg in. Metamorfose na sy Reis). In the early part of the twentieth century, it was held that Dutch painting constituted a reminder of the cultural links between the Netherlands and South Africa, but this tenuous link was invoked as a "rallying cry for a national [Afrikaner] identity" with little real success. J. Carman, "17th Century Dutch and Flemish Painting in South Africa". Paper presented at the 10th Annual conference of the South African Association of Art Historians, 14-16 July 1994, University of Stellenbosch, p 158. This is significant in terms of Pierneefs idea that the art of Europe should not just be copied by South Africans.
100. Grosskopf, Hendrik Pierneef, p 22: "Ware nasionale kuns moet uit jou eie omgewing en uit jou eie grond gebore word ".
101. For example: "ons [moet] die skildery voel as ´n skepping en ´n produk wat op die bodem van Suid-Afrikaanse tradisies organies gegroei het en gevoed is deur die Suid-Afrikaanse kultuur". H. Posthumus, "Nie Nuwigheid Nie, Maar Slegs Vernuwing van Belang in Kuns", Die Vaderland, 2 Oktober 1936, p 11. In order to produce a successful national art, artists had to reflect their environment and adapt their colours and subject matter accordingly: "Pierneef, Volschenk, Mayer ... Loubser [sic], Boonzaier, .staan met albei voete op Afrikaanse bodem ondanks die feit dat hulle dikwels motiewe behandel waarteenoor die Afrikaner vreemd staan". S.I. Mocke, "Nasionale Rigting by Ons Jongere Skilders en Digters," Die Vaderland, 12 Junie 1936, p 11.
102. P. Enseel [pseudonym of M.L. du Toit], "Maggie Laubser Haar Tentoonstelling", Die Volkstem, 24 November 1931, p 1. See J. Joubert, "Maggie Laubser's First Art Exhibition in Pretoria, 1931", South African Journal of Cultural and Art History, 1, 3, September 1987, pp 258-262. The reviewer of Irma Stern exhibition in the Macfadyen Hall in 1933 remarked that she too combined the techniques of European modernism "with an inspiration that was peculiarly South African". Pretoria News, 20 April 1933, p 6 (Exhibition of Paintings by Miss Irma Stern).
103. Delmont, "Laubser, Land and Labour", pp 6-7.
104. Delmont, "Laubser, Land and Labour", pp 6-7. In this regard, it is puzzling why Du Toit seems to have collected so few of Laubser's works that aligned with his ideological beliefs: Arum Lilies, J.F.E. Celliers and Flamingos, acquired for the University of Pretoria in the 1930s, are relatively limited in their representation of Laubser's modernism, both stylistically and iconographically.
105. Die Vaderland, 23 September 1933, p 13 (Opgewektheid Vervang die Tragiese in Maggie Loubser [sic] se Kuns); Die Vaderland, 23 September 1936, p 14 (Empire Exhibition).
106. Die Volkstem, 24 Junie 1933, p 5 (Dr Gie oor 'Eg-Afrikaanse Kuns, Open Tentoonstelling van J Smith).
107. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - J. Giliam, Pretoria, 21 August 1931. Giliam was Wenning's son-in-law.
108. Basson, "Die Bydrae van Erich Mayer", p 204. This work was possibly Willow trees or Landscape, which were both early additions to the collection of the University of Pretoria.
109. CAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - Rector, University of Pretoria, 26 April 1929. The reply stated that the Board could not finance such a project since there were hardly sufficient funds for general purposes.
110. AAUP: M.L. du Toit file, M.L. du Toit - J. Giliam, Pretoria, 31 September 1931.
111. Pretoria News, 18 February 1950 (Varsity art collection exhibited). This arrangement was not always honoured. Accounts like this contributed to myths about the origins of the collection, and have only recently been revised.
112. Joubert, "The Art Exhibitions Held in the Macfadyen", pp 62-146. Although there are major works in the collection, there were also omissions, possibly resulting from the random nature of donations. No exhibitions by black artists took place in the Macfadyen Hall. Works by artists such as Lucas Malemale were added to the collection in the late 1970s, and only from about 1991 was there a policy dedicated to collecting works by black artists.
113. B. Cilliers-Barnard, Personal communication, Pretoria, 19 August 1986. A comparison between the exhibitions held in the 1930s and the 1940s suggests that in the earlier decade more contentious exhibitors were selected, whereas in the 1940s most of the displays seem to have taken the conservative taste of the public into account.
114. Carman, "17th Century Dutch and Flemish", p 158; J. Carman, "Florence Phillips, Patronage and the Arts at the Time of Union", in Arnold and Schmahmann (eds), Between Union and Liberation, p 35. The art collection of the South African National Gallery in Cape Town profited from the gifts, mainly of so-called "modern" art, made by Alfred de Pass between 1926 and 1949. A. Tietze, "The Benefactor and the Gallery: Alfred de Pass and the South African National Gallery in the Years 1926 to 1949". Paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference of the South African Association of Art Historians, 14-16 July 1994, University of Stellenbosch, pp 134-139.
115. Carman, "17th Century Dutch and Flemish", p 159. Sir Hugh Lane was also responsible for the curatorial vision of the Michaelis Collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings, which was donated to the Union of South Africa in 1913 and was divided between two locations, namely the Michaelis Collection in Cape Town and the Pretoria Municipality.
116. Carman, "Florence Phillips," p 39.
117. Arnold, "Visual Culture in Context", p 20.
118. Carman, "Acquisition Policy", p 204; J. Carman, Uplifting the Colonial Philistine Florence Phillips and the Making of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (Wits University Press, Johannesburg, 2006), pp 180, 190. The Johannesburg Art Gallery bought its first work by a black artist, Gerard Sekoto's (1913-1993) Yellow Houses a Street in Sophiatown (1940) in 1940. Carman, "Acquisition Policy", p 207.
119. Quoted in Carman, "17th Century Dutch and Flemish", p 158.
120. In January 1939, Hendriks selected eight paintings by South African artists such as Wenning, Pierneef and Oerder from the Engelenburg estate. The collection policy of the Johannesburg Art Gallery formulated in 1946 specified that although representative examples of the best of South African painting had occasionally been collected, the Gallery was primarily seeking examples of English and European art from after 1910. Lamprecht, "Florrie's Dream", pp 32, 40-41.
121. J. Carman, "Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Urban Future", in R. Tomlinson, R.A. Beauregard, L. Bremmer and X. Mangcu (eds), Emerging Johannesburg. Perspectives on the Postapartheid City (Routledge, London, 2003), p 231.
122. Apart from the Michaelis bequest, the earliest pieces in the collection of the Town Council of Pretoria comprised artworks by Pierneef, Wenning, Oerder, Van Wouw and Stern (, offering an interesting analogy with Du Toit's contemporary endeavors at the University of Pretoria. Although there is no conclusive evidence that Du Toit was involved in the selection of artworks for the Town Council of Pretoria, it is likely that he was consulted since he was considered one of the leading figures in the Pretoria art community. See also footnote 19 of this article.
123. Carman, "Acquisition Policy", pp 203-204.
124. Arnold, "Visual Culture in Context", p 20.
125. Du Toit, "Art in Afrikaans Culture", p 188.

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