Storm in the Wheatfield
(1873 - 1965)
Wheatfield with Blue Sky
Oil on canvas
- by Brendan Bell
This first installment about the history of the Tatham Art Gallery's permanent collection is hot off the press and on sale in the Tatham Shop. It provides fascinating insight into how and why a public art collection was established in Pietermaritzburg, from its founding by Mrs Ada Tatham in 1903 to the end of Miss Valerie Leigh's tenure as Curator in 1974.
The early Victorian and Edwardian character of the Tatham collection was expanded with a most generous gift of over four hundred artworks and objets d'art from Colonel Whitwell between 1923 and 1926. In contrast, over one hundred works were identified as "inferior" by a visiting curator and sold from the collection in 1963. This book argues that all works in an art museum have value, and that changing aesthetic sensibilities cannot be used as the sole criterion for removing works from a collection.
The title Storm in the Wheatfield refers to a storm-in-a-teacup which raged in the local press in 1967 when Wheatfields with Blue Sky, an oil painting by the South African artist, Bertha Everard, was received with derision by City Councillors.
The publication contains colour illustrations throughout and a full catalogue of all works acquired for the collection from 1903 to 1974.
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