The Hunt
University of Cape Town,
Irma Stern Museum
is governed by the
University of Cape Town
and the Trustees of the
Irma Stern Estate

Cecil Road, Rosebank
Cape Town
South Africa

Tel: +27(0)21 685 5686

University Of Cape Town
Irma Stern Museum
introduction the artist the woman the collector exhibitions shop contact

There are two areas for hire subject to approval by the Irma Stern Museum Committee for exhibitions of temporary artwork. Costs for these venues are based on a hiring and/or commission basis.

The upstairs gallery consists of approximately 45 running metres of exhibition space in three different adjacent galleries. The small gallery downstairs which measures approximately 10 metres is suitable for works on paper.

Click here for Upstairs Gallery Map or Small Gallery Map

At: Irma Stern Museum
Dates: 6 Dec 2014 - 17 Jan 2015
Opening: 6 Dec 2014 @ 11 am
Opening speaker: Hayden Proud
Walkabouts with Rosalind Spears:
13 & 20 Dec at 11h00
13 Jan at 11h00

An exhibition of Selected Works
Frank Spears
and the launch of the book Frank Spears - the Painter

Frank Spears

Frank Spears

Frank Spears

Selected works of Frank Spears – the Painter (1906-1991) will be on show at the Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town from 6th December to 17th January. Owners have loaned their pictures for the show which is the first opportunity in over forty years to see a solo collection of this talented artist's paintings.

The first book on the life and works of the painter Frank Spears written by Melissa Sutherland is now available. The book, entitled 'Frank Spears – the Painter' will be launched at the Irma Stern Museum on 6th December. Material for the book was collected by Sutherland from family and friends of the painter as well as Spears' extensive correspondence, programmes from his shows and archival research. It includes 140 colour reproductions of Spears paintings. Their is introduction written by Hayden Proud of Iziko South African National Gallery. In it Proud says 'the life and work of this multi-talented Anglo-South African artist is well overdue for reassessment.'

His style was impressionist bordering on abstract. Spears oil paintings are full of colour and underpinned by his ability to draw. His favourite subjects were flowers, clowns, music, landscapes, portraits and religious scenes. In the show there will also be some of his early watercolours and architectural drawings from his work as a designer.

Spears painted not to make a living but because, as he put it 'I just can't help but paint.' He was a mystic, deeply interested in religion, philosophy and music as is evidenced in so many of his works, especially the clowns.

Spears' depiction of The Risen Christ in the Church of the Resurrection Bonteheuvel is the focal point of this large popular Church. There are Spears paintings in public collections and one, The Descent from the Cross, is in St George's Cathedral to the left of the altar. The only surviving example of his stained glass is the recently restored window depicting music, dance and threatre over the entrance to the Thom Theatre in Stellenbosch.

Spears was President of The South African Society of Artists chose Spears from 1945 to 1947. His works were exhibited in their shows frequently and in over 80 joint exhibitions between 1935 and 1977 in South Africa and Europe. He represented South Africa in the Sao Paulo Biennale of 1964 and the Venice Biennale of 1966 . Spears also had 34 solo exhibitions. In spite of having tracked down over 350 examples of his paintings there are still many more to be discovered.

It was in Cape Town that Spears met his wife Dorothea who was a poet and writer. She came here from America with her father, the Methodist Bishop of Southern Africa. She had married a man twice her age when she was 19 and had two sons. Falling in love with Spears led to a scandalous divorce. Their marriage lasted almost 60 years until they died within three weeks of each other.

Johnny Spears, his son, has organised this exhibition. As more paintings come to light they will be added to the website All the known paintings are included – 350 to date - plus some wonderful recordings of Spears speaking. There are interviews about his life and work including one with Esme Berman in 1964 and another with the sculptor Mike Edwards in 1973. You can also hear his poetry readings. It is possible to purchase 'Frank Spears – the Painter' on this website.

Back to Top

At: Irma Stern Museum
Dates: 1-22 Nov 2014
Opening: 1 Nov 2014 @ 11 am
Opening speaker: Wilma Cruise
Artist's walkabout:
Wed 5,12,19 at 13h00
Sat 8, 22 at 11h00

a solo exhibition of ceramics by
Nicolene C. Swanepoel

Nicolene C Swanepoel

Award winning artist, Nicolene C. Swanepoel, will be showing new work at the UCT Irma Stern Gallery from 1 November 2014. Accompanying the sculptures will be photographs of her work by Daniela Zondagh. Nicolene’s work focusses on animals and human-animal interactions. She has exhibited in many group shows in Cape Town and has work in select Cape Town galleries. While her ceramic cattle heads are well known (they are currently displayed in the turret to the entrance of the Castle of Good Hope), this show will show more personal and intimate work. This is her first solo exhibition in Cape Town.

Nicolene C Swanepoel

Back to Top

At: Irma Stern Museum
Dates: 4-25 Oct 2014
Opening: 4 Oct 2014 @ 10.30 am
Opening speaker: Michael Godby
Artist Walkabout: Wed 15 Oct @ 10.30am

an exhibition by
Lien Botha and Clementina van der Walt

Lien Botha and Clementina van der Walt

The Stern Exchange is a collaboration between lens-based artist Lien Botha and ceramic artist Clementina van der Walt and will also be part of the Sixth Cape Town Month of Photography.

Whilst the artists will each independently be investigating aspects of the Irma Stern Museum and reflecting these in separate bodies of work in their respective mediums, the original idea was to present something along the lines of the Grayson Perry installations in the British Museum – The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman – in 2011/12.

Botha, besides exhibiting work from two existing portfolios called Moundou (2008) and Plant Press (2009), also created a unique set of eight photographic prints, featuring staff of the Irma Stern Museum and which can best be described as an idiosyncratic insertion into the raison d’ętre of this venerated building.

Van der Walt will show ceramic works which embrace both the utilitarian and contemplative aspects of the ceramic discipline. Much of the style and methods of working have been inspired by experiencing two parallel lives – an urban life in the City of Cape Town and a rural life on a farm outside Calitzdorp in the Klein Karoo where she spends many weeks of the year.

Her intention is to ‘seek the sacred in the ordinary’; “I endeavour to make contemplative objects which have a utilitarian dimension. My aesthetic inspiration is drawn from the patterns, colours, light and textures in the urban and natural African landscape.”

Finally, the interplay between ceramic work and photographic prints will be tied together with furniture - supplied and coordinated by Ebony Design.

Back to Top

At: Irma Stern Museum
Dates: 6-27 Sept 2014
Opening: 6 Sept 2014 @ 10.30 am
Opening speaker: Martin Welz
Artist Walkabout: Sat 13 Sept @ 11am

Exhibition of new work
by realist artist, John Kramer
First solo exhibition in 25 years

John Kramer

Cape Town artist John Kramer is holding his first solo exhibition in 25 years at the UCT Irma Stern Museum in Rosebank from 6 - 27 September 2014. His book, John Kramer, published by the Penny Dobbie Gallery, will also be launched at the exhibition.

John is well-known for his realistic paintings of small town shops and algemene handelaars – a project which he has been pursuing relentlessly since the early 1970s, when he first realised that these “ordinary” buildings were disappearing – “the supermarket was coming to town”. John has travelled extensively looking for subject matter, visiting many small towns and dorps to photograph the buildings he loves to paint. He has built up a huge archive of source material in the process, much of it reflecting small town South Africa.

As he explains in his book: “My paintings are not about architecture as such, about structures that have been designed; instead they have to do with buildings that have grown and matured over time, that show the ravages of alteration, that reveal their amusing quirks and peculiarities, with all the eccentric bits and pieces added by their owners.”  As he says: “Ultimately my aim is to create a painting that makes a statement about a specific place that existed at a specific moment in time.”

Concentrating on light and shadow, tonal values, verticals and horizontals and by eliminating any presence of living beings from his paintings, he has created a body of works that is uniquely South African.

John’s paintings can now be found all over the world, but there has seldom been an opportunity to see a collection of his new paintings all together under one roof. The exhibition, John Kramer – New Work, is curated by Penny Dobbie.  The artist will lead a walkabout of his paintings on Saturday 13 September at 11a.m.

The book, featuring full colour photographs of John’s favourite paintings over the years, will be available at the gallery for R120.

To order a copy of the book John Kramer online (R120 plus postage):



Back to Top

Opening Hours Tuesday - Friday 10h00 - 17h00, Saturday 10h00 - 14h00
Entrance  Adults @ R10 -  Pensioners & Learners @ R5
Gated parking available in Chapel Road for visitors.

© GetWebCentre

Back to Top