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Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg CBD

Standard Bank Art Gallery, Johannesburg, CBD

From left: Standard Bank Gallery: Titta Fasciotti, Transkei, Oil on board, 25 x 34, Undated: Tommy Motswai, Cadillac, Lithograph, 50.5 x 71.5, 2005

Standard Bank Gallery is a shining example of a big corporate supporting and developing local artists. Not only has the bank been purchasing local art for a long time, with an impressive collection of over 1000 pieces, but it also promotes the best of local talent by showcasing their work through its active non-commercial exhibition programme.

Jan de Reyniers, A View of Table Bay, Cape Town Oil on canvas, 72 x 89, c1860

Jan de Reyniers, A View of Table Bay, Cape Town. Oil on canvas, 72 x 89, c1860.

This top class gallery venue, that opened in 1990, has become one of the city’s leading fine art venues, with rotating displays of a wide range of art.

From as early as the 18th century painting of Table Bay by Jan de Reyniers, to contemporary works by South Africa’s finest artists, including the historic Irma Stern, Gerard Sekoto and Cyprian Shilakoe or contemporary artists like William Kentridge, Edoardo Villa, Penny Siopis, Noel Hodnett, Allina Ndebele and Karel Nel, this venue displays quality.

One of the highlights on the annual exhibition schedule features the work of the current winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award.  Many of this competition’s winners have become very successful on the international stage.

Some of the previous winners include William Kentridge (1987), Jane Alexander (1995), Sam Nhlengethwa (1994), Pippa Skotnes (1993), Tommy Motswai (1992), Andries Botha (1991) and Bonnie Ntshalintshali with Fee Halstead-Berning (1990).

The gallery has hosted retrospective exhibitions by prolific South African masters, including Irma Stern, Gerard Sekoto and Cyprian Shilakoe. Contemporary South African artists such as Penny Siopis, Willem Boshoff, Karel Nel and Wayne Barker have also lent their vibrant creative energies to the gallery.

The Standard Bank Gallery was the first institution to bring original works by a 20th century European artist to South Africa with the Marc Chagall exhibition in 2000 followed by Joan Miro and, in 2006, the record breaking Picasso and Africa exhibition. South Africa’s own internationally acclaimed Marlene Dumas had her first solo exhibition on home soil in 2007.

From left: Willie Bester, Shack Tapestry, 275 x 150, Undated: Baulé, Côte d’Ivoire Mask with scorpion Wood: Yoruba, Nigeria Crown (Coronet as barrister’s wig) Beads, textile, palm fibre, feathers

Apart from its active exhibition programme, the gallery also hosts portions of Standard Bank’s corporate and African art collections of both historically significant works and contemporary pieces. The African art collection is made up of cultural items such as figurines, drums, masks, clothing and ritual objects, as well as bead work, textiles and valuable ceramic pieces. Although it includes pieces from all over Africa, the emphasis is on local artworks. This has helped to keep many valuable South African pieces in the country.

The gallery not only serves as a first-rate space for artistic exhibition, it also has excellent acoustics. Concerts and recitals are held regularly in the main exhibition area.

Guided tours of exhibitions for school groups form part of the bank’s outreach programme.

Hours: Weekdays: 08h00 to 16h30: Saturdays: 09h00 to 13h00: Sundays and public holidays: Closed

Admission: Free. Please see the exhibition programme on the Standard Bank Gallery Website. Tel: 0860 123 000: 

Directions: Corner Simmonds and Frederick streets, Johannesburg

From the M1 South take the Village Road/Selby exit. At the third traffic light turn left into Sauer Street. Turn right into Frederick Street. The gallery is on the next corner (with Simmonds Street). The parking entrance is around the back of the gallery in Harrison Street.

More info on the Johannesburg area