The following properties are famed both locally and internationally for their permanent art collections featuring both important historical pieces and works by up-and-coming contemporary artists, and have the added bonus of featuring some of the most luxurious private villas South Africa has to offer.
Art is treated as an experience at Ellerman House, not just a passing fancy. Assembled over thirty years, the hotel’s vast collection of fine art really is one of its most intriguing selling points. The emphasis is very much on South African art, ranging from contemporary sketches, paintings and sculptures to pieces over a hundred years old. The collection has become so much a part of the hotel that the Ellerman House Contemporary was created, a modern art gallery within the hotel which was launched in December 2009. Everywhere you turn at Ellerman will have some sort of artwork, whether it’s a vibrant Lionel Smit painting on a wall or a giant Angus Taylor sculpture greeting you at the entrance – great care and attention has been taken to merge the art and architecture throughout.
The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa
So involved in the South African art world, The Saxon hosts its own art exhibition/fair annually. With more than 250 works in the permanent collection, The Saxon is one of the premier collectors of both historical and contemporary South African art. The collection even features pieces by former president Nelson Mandela, who took up residence at The Saxon to write his renowned book The Long Walk to Freedom. The Saxon also prides itself on supporting South Africa’s emerging artists, who may not have had the chance to be recognised on what is essentially an international stage.
The relatively recent purchase of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl by Laurence Graff has caused many to sit up and take notice of one of the most interesting collections of contemporary South African art, housed in the beautiful architecture of the Delaire Graff estate just outside Stellenbosch, made up of luxury villas overlooking the valley and vineyards. On first impressions it seems as though Lionel Smit’s paintings adorn every room; however on closer inspection you’ll find interesting pieces by Deborah Bell, Fred Schimmel and William Kentridge. The gardens are populated with sculptures by the likes of Dylan Lewis and Anton Smit. There are also beautiful installations in the form of intricate light features gracing the ceiling of Indochine. While in the area it’s worth making at trip to La Motte to see the impressive collection of Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef’s work at the vineyard – such is the influence of the collection, La Motte has named their organic sauvignon blanc after the artist.
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