Art galleries in Cape Town highlight the city’s vibrant creative scene and diverse culture. World-class art venues occupy both the buzzing metropolis and lush surrounding Cape Winelands, showcasing extraordinary classic and contemporary work of emerging and established talents.
No visit to the Mother City is really complete without discovering some of these exceptional spaces, and we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 galleries that are bound to impress and inspire.
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The Everard Read Gallery is Africa’s oldest commercial art gallery presenting contemporary art from South Africa and abroad. The gallery was established in 1913, and opened its doors in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront in 1996. Since its inception, Everard Read has become an integral contributor to the culture of Cape Town, with a quarter of the gallery housing one of the city’s oldest dealerships, Louis Schachat´s “Die Kunskamer”, renowned for handling South African masters of the last century.
Delaire Graff Estate in the Stellenbosch Valley is all about exceptional wines, luxury accommodation, gourmet dining and world-class art. A destination in itself, the estate is home to an impressive collection of South African art, handpicked by Laurence Graff himself, featuring treasured works by artists such as Anton Smit, Deborah Bell, William Kentridge and many more.
The estate also houses one of the most iconic paintings of the 20th century – the very piece that inspired Graff’s lifelong passion for art. At Delaire Graff, guests can view the famous 1952 painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff, the ‘Chinese Girl’, on display in the entrance to the main building.
The Donald Greig Gallery and Foundry is located in the V&A Waterfront in the heart of the city’s historic harbor area. The space was designed by Ali Greig (wife of the artist, Donald Greig) who transformed an old port warehouse into a beautifully contemplative gallery in which to showcase her husband’s spectacular sculptures. The gallery is home to Africa’s largest bronze foundry with a range of bronze, silver and metal sculptures depicting the diverse wildlife of the continent.
All sculptures showcase Greig’s innate skill and attention to even the smallest detail. This is evident in both his impressive, life-size sculptures as well as his more delicate pieces. While his leopard sculptures are undoubtedly the most popular, other notable pieces include a family of meerkats, a pack of roaming wild dogs, and a palm-sized hippo. However, the most iconic artwork is undoubtedly Greig’s extraordinary 100kg life-sized elephant head, which hangs proudly in the gallery as the only piece of its kind.
The STEVENSON is a popular contemporary art gallery that opened in Cape Town in 2003 and is located in the edgy neighborhood of Woodstock. The gallery showcases contemporary art from South Africa, as well as works from other African artists and the diaspora. The gallery publishes catalogs and participates in art fairs around the world regularly, helping African artists gain access to the international market. Every 4 – 5 weeks, the gallery hosts a new and exciting exhibition featuring outstanding contemporary work. It is well worth the visit.
The La Motte Museum, located in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, is the permanent host to the heritage collection of the iconic South African landscape artist, Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Considered to be one of the best of the old South African masters, Pierneef’s distinctive style is widely recognized and his artworks are still in great demand. The museum also features the history of La Motte, the Cape Dutch buildings, and various aspects of the Rupert family, focusing on Dr. Anton and Mrs. Hubert Rupert, as well as the musical career of their daughter, Hanli. The museum also presents other temporary exhibitions, as well as the famous La Motte Sculpture Walk – a display of 11 sculptures set amidst the beautiful gardens of the estate.
*Please note that the La Motte Museum will close in January 2023 for renovations.
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA), is arguably one of the most exciting additions to South Africa’s museum line-up in decades. Aside from its spellbinding collections of vivid, contemporary art sourced from some of the most exciting artists throughout the African continent, the very museum itself is a sight to behold.
Constructed in the shell of a former grain silo, its inner atrium was carved from the concrete itself, laying bare the structure’s bones in an absolutely fascinating fashion. A must-see for art enthusiasts of all persuasions.
The Irma Stern Museum is the former home and art studio of one of South Africa’s most prolific and influential artists. Stern was renowned for playing a leading role in the introduction of experimental and progressive art to the country. In her will, she donated her artworks which can now be viewed in her very home, amongst other wonderful artifacts and eccentric furniture that she collected. Most of the rooms, including her studio with all her original paintbrushes, rags and easel remain, are kept as close to their original form as can be. The museum reflects the life and character of this exceptional artist while also playing host to temporary exhibitions that serve to promote and encourage arts and culture in the country.
The Iziko South African National Gallery is the national art gallery of South Africa situated in the Mother City. The white, stately walls of the gallery house an impressive collection of South African and international artworks from the 17th century through to modern-day contemporary art.
The gallery showcases a range of different media including paintings, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture. It also houses permanent collections of some of South Africa’s finest talent including Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef and Gerard Sekoto.
SMAC Gallery was established in Stellenbosch in 2007 and opened in Woodstock, Cape Town in 2011. The gallery is a leading South African contemporary art space focused on showcasing emerging and mid-career local and international artists. SMAC Gallery also presents larger historical projects and exhibitions that offer an interpretative reassessment of South African art history within a global discourse. The gallery regularly takes part in global art fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach, The Armory Show, Art Brussels and Artissima.
Located in the Steenberg area of Cape Town, adjacent to the Table Mountain National Park, The Norval Foundation is an iconic and acclaimed addition to the art scene in South Africa. This exhibition space is a tribute to 20th- and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and features an innovative Sculpture Garden, research library, and a bespoke restaurant and bar.
Get in touch with your LuxVenture® Designer today to plan a visit to some of the diverse art galleries in Cape Town and surrounds. No trip to the Mother City is complete without experiencing this vibrant and stimulating scene!