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Celebrating Spring at Irma Stern Museum

Posted on 17 August 2016

One of South Africa's most beloved museums, the UCT Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town, will celebrate the arrival of spring with a botanical art exhibition, bringing together artwork from established artists of Cape flora with new artwork that has been commissioned for the exhibition.

The Western Cape floral kingdom, with its unrivalled diversity of plant species has attracted explorers, artists and botanists for hundreds of years.

An exhibition titled Flora Old and New will be held at UCT Irma Stern Museum in September as part of the special public programme to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the internationally renowned South African artist, Irma Stern.

It will be a collaborative event with contemporary botanical paintings by members of the Western Cape branch of the Botanical Artists' Association of Southern Africa (BAASA) and older works, dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries, on loan from UCT's Manuscripts Department and Bolus Herbarium Collections. The herbarium, established in 1865, is the oldest functioning herbarium in South Africa, holding a collection of over 350,000 specimens and recognized for its superb representation of the Cape Flora.

The theme is "plants indigenous to southern Africa".

A selection of superb botanical artworks from the UCT collections, either seldom or never displayed, will feature paintings by Arabella Roupell, Mary Page and Beatrice Carter, as well as Harry Bolus, together with several herbarium specimens of great historic interest collected by William Burchell during his travels in the interior of Southern Africa between 1811 and 1815.

The earliest paintings, "made solely for the amusement of leisure hours", dated 1843, are by an English visitor to the Cape, named Arabella Roupell, who accompanied her husband to India. Some of her works were published in a book issued in 1849, titled, Specimens of the Flora of South Africa.

Contemporary work by national and internationally acknowledged botanical artists who are members of BAASA Western Cape will be on view in various media, ranging from watercolours and oils to scraperboard and stained glass. In February this year Margaret de Villiers was awarded a gold medal at the RHS's Botanical Art Show for her Ericas of the Western Cape, Fynbos Species. Vicki Thomas and Gillian Foster are represented in HRH Prince Charles's Highgrove Florilegium.

Each of the artists has made a unique contribution to the development and tradition of botanical art and enriched our appreciation and understanding of the beauty and wonder of flora, both old and new. The artwork will be on sale.

An educational component is planned, including daily morning walkabouts by the participating artists and several workshops and talks for different interest groups.

"The Irma Stern Museum lends its space so perfectly to an exhibition on botanical art; the juxtaposition of well-known artists with new art and specimens from the Bolus herbarium that have never been exhibited before," Mary van Blommenstein, curator at the Irma Stern museum and the exhibition states. "We are tremendously grateful to the artists who have submitted their works for the exhibition. We invite young and old, botanical art lovers and the general public; everyone who has an interest in Cape nature and its flora, to visit and to meet the artists at one of our walkabouts and talks."

Date & Venue:
3 September - 1 October 2016
Irma Stern Museum, Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town

Opening Hours:
Tuesday - Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 14:00

Daily Walkabouts at 11:00.

For more information about the programme, please visit: www.irmasternmuseum.org.za.

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