Book about NWU art collection a milestone

Christi Cloete -- Wed, 09/18/2013 - 00:00

Book about NWU art collection a milestone

The North-West University’s Gallery has just released a book about the art collection of this university while guests could admire some of the most important artworks.

The book, NWU Art Collection: Looking back while moving forward, is a milepost that was reached and the crown of three years’ very hard work. Today the art collection of the NWU is worth approximately R17 million and contains some of the works painted by renowned artists like Pierneef, Bettie Cilliers-Barnard, Otto Klar, George Boys and Maggie Laubser.

Johan Myburgh, Beeld’s art and entertainment editor, opened the exhibition at the Botanical Gardens Gallery and asked: “What is a university without an art collection?”

“It is, after all, art that reminds us of our humanity (with all its baggage) and offers the viewer relief and gives expression to the sometimes inexpressible.”

Myburgh said the then rector, Ferdinand Postma, decided in 1932 to put aside £6 to buy artworks and it was the start of the impressive collection of artworks.

“It’s important to exhibit this collection. It’s fine when paintings hang in a beautiful office, but it means more in the library and other public spaces. Don’t stop with this work and don’t be greedy.”

The NWU’s art collection currently consists of 1 031 works, which include paintings, sculptures, graphic works and a few examples of hand craft. This collection was built up over the past 80 years and consists of three smaller collections, namely the Ferdinand Postma Library collection, the Education Sciences collection and the Conservatory collection. All the artworks are managed by the NWU Gallery.

According to the curator, Mrs Christina Naurattel, the art collection has already been the topic of research and education. “The Gallery links the cultural life of the NWU with that of the broader community by means of exhibition and publications to cultivate an awareness, understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.”

Prof Annette Combrink, former rector and currently executive mayor of Tlokwe, said this publication is the realisation of a dream of about ten years ago to compile a comprehensive catalogue of the university’s art collection.

PHOTO: Present during the book release were Christina Naurattel (curator of the NWU Gallery), Prof Annette Combrink (executive mayor of Tlokwe), Johan Myburgh (Beeld’s art and entertainment editor), Horst Bütow (director of Puk Arts), Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (rector of the Potchefstroom Campus) and Prof Rikus Fick (dean of student affairs).