The University of Pretoria has one of the most comprehensive art, ceramics and sculpture collections in South Africa. From prehistoric to contemporary 21st century collections, these are unique, diverse and exceptional, as past and present institutional living archives.
The UP Art Collection
The University of Pretoria has a remarkable 20th century and modern art collection of over 2 500 artworks, and an active acquisition programme. Signature and seminal works by South African artists are curated and conserved to continue this 110-year university tradition.
Elephants River (1945) by Hendrik PierneefOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Elephants River, 1945 by JH Pierneef
The University of Pretoria has a distinguished collection of works by JH Pierneef (1886-1957). Arguably, he remains one of Africa's great landscape masters. His adoration of the uninhabited and monumental views of typical landscapes and cloud formations is evident in his work.
Trees in a Drift (1927) by Hendrik PierneefOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Trees in a Drift- 1927
“... Bury me under the camel thorn tree with its masculine features above and its roots deep in Africa’s soil”. JH Pierneef
Wild Fig Tree (1930) by Hendrik PierneefOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Wild Fig Tree, 1930 by JH Pierneef
Wild Fig Tree also titled, "Tree of the Bushveld" is truly iconic of the bushveld scenes and other landscapes of which Pierneef was very fond. The presence of trees and his fascination with them began at an early age, while exploring the bushveld near his home in the Transvaal Highveld, today known as Gauteng. He was particularly fond of various tree species, how the trunks, branches and leaves contributed to the forms against the backdrop of summer storm clouds. Pierneef managed to capture the South African landscape in a unique way that no other artist could.
Harlequins Homage to Guernica (1987) by Christo CoetzeeOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Harlequins Homage to Guernica, 1987
Another iconic art collection of the University of Pretoria is by bequest of the South African artist, Christo Coetzee (1929-2000) of 193 works. Through his interpretation and brilliant mind, Coetzee’s work Harlequins homage to the Guernica pays homage to Picasso’s Guernica.
Student of Genetics (1979) by Christo CoetzeeOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Student of Genetics, 1979
This work reflects a common subject in Coetzee's work: the female portrait. Depicting pearls, flowers, bridal attire and pendants themed along the lines of love through an avant-garde and unconventional style.
Bust of Sisyphus II (1982) by Christo CoetzeeOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Bust of Sisyphus II, 1982
Bust of Sisyphus depicts a portrait of the ancient Greek king Sisyphus, who was punished by Zeus. Coetzee's claimed this painting reflected on the "maddening effect of art", a reflection and criticism of the hubristic images artists and art historians of the time had of themselves.
Blikkiesdorp (1940) by Gregoire BoonzaierOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
This work, titled in Afrikaans as "Blikkiesdorp" (1940) or squatter camp, is by the South African artist Gregoire Boonzaier (1909-2005). Boonzaier is seen as the father of Cape Impressionism, a local stylistic form related to the western Impressionism school. His artworks range from still life paintings, landscapes and portraits. Along with artists Walter Battiss, Lippy Lipschitz, Frieda Lock and Terence McCaw. Boonzaier was a founder of the New Group in 1938 and his subject matter often contributed to the struggle against apartheid.
Boy with Bird (1950) by Walter BattissOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Boy with Bird, 1950 by Walter Battiss
The University has a few works by Walter Battiss (1902-1982), a great contributor to our art history. He described himself, as a "first neo-primitive in South Africa" and claimed that, “Art is a virus, which, having taken hold, is difficult to get out of the system”.
The UP Ceramic Collection
With one of the largest ceramic collections in South Africa, the University of Pretoria has stewardship of ceramics from around the world. Dating from the neolithic times to the present, from east, to west to African ceramics- they are celebrated in any form, shape and size.
Ardmore zebra teapot (2004) by Vusi Ntshalintshali & Jabu NeneOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Ardmore Zebra Teapot, 2004
A glazed earthenware teapot with vibrant colour and zebra pattern created by the artist Vusi Ntshalintshali. Internationally renowned Ardmore Art Ceramics are South Africa's most recognisable contemporary studio brand with roots in the KwaZulu Natal midlands.
Aloe Vase (2009) by Margot RudolphOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Aloe Vase, 2009
538mm x 440mm
Flora-Ann ware globular vase (1951/1972) by Flora AnnOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Flora-Anne Globular Vase
South African Studio Ceramic
Johannesburg, ca. 1960
Flora-Anne Ware (1951-1972) Glazed Earthenware
Ukhamba series jar (2011) by Nic SitholeOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Gourd-Shaped Decorative Vessel, 2016
South African ceramicist
690mm x 480 mm
Venda four-spouted pot (1975) by VendaOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Venda Four-Spouted Globular Brewing Vessel
Low-fired earthenware, ca. 1975. Venda pots are traditionally finished with red ochre pigment and burnished graphite. They are hand-coiled and pit fired. Traditional ceramics such as these can date back to the 14th and 15th century.
Crescent ware black decorative crane vase (1952/1992) by Crecent PotteriesOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Crescent Potteries Crane Vase
Crescent Potteries (1952-1992)
51mm x 120mm
Lucia ware black bottle jar (1945/1950) by Boksburg East PotteriesOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Lucia Ware Black Bottle Handle Jar
South African Studio Ceramic
Lucia Ware, 1945-1950
110mm x 90mm
Back and Forth (2018) by Viola GreylingOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Back and Forth, 2017
Set of seven hand--painted vases
600mm x 1500mm x 250mm
The UP Sculpture Collection
The University of Pretoria sculpture collection is one of the largest and most diverse at any university in South Africa. The oldest work dates back to 1881 and is complimented with over 400 other modern works. Beyond the walls of the galleries, the museum also features a unique public sculpture route.
King Khama III (1925) by Anton van WouwOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
King Khama III, 1925
Portrait of King Khama (1837-1923)
by Anton van Wouw (1862-1945)
Nude Dancer (1932/1939) by Fanie EloffOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Nude Dancer, 1932
Fanie Eloff (1885-1947)
Hunter Drinking Water (1919) by Anton van WouwOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Hunter Drinking Water, 1919
Anton van Wouw (1862-1945)
The Boxer (1912) by Fanie EloffOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
The Boxer, 1912
Fanie Eloff (1884-1947)
Love's Anguish (1929) by Fanie EloffOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Love's Anguish, 1929
Fanie Eloff (1885-1947)
Leopard Attacking A Man (1990) by Johannes MaswanganyiOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Leopard Attacking a Man, 1990
Johannes Maswanganyi (b.1949)
1500mm x 600mm
A Cloak as a Dagger (2016) by Avi SoofulOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
A Cloak as a Dagger, 2016
Avitha Sooful (b. 1964)
Wood (Silver Oak) & barbed wire
800mm x 480mm
Burning Man (2009) by Anton SmitOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums
Burning Man, 2009
Anton Smit (b. 1945)
2350mm x 1700mm x 600mm
Content Produced and Curated by: Sian Tiley-Nel Copyright University of Pretoria Museums
Curators: Gerard de Kamper and Lelani Nicolaisen
University of Pretoria.
Photography: Thania Louw Art2Motion
Art Conservator: Sandra Markgraaf