Posted: June 21st, 2021

How the Building Symbolized and Facilitated the Value Systems of Its Users

The Johannesburg art gallery held an exhibition first in November 1910. Florence Phillips is the founder of the gallery and her reason for building this art gallery in Johannesburg was for her to bring modern art to the people of Johannesburg, she was able to do so through the help of her partner and advisor Hugh Lane, Marybeth McTeague. Although the art gallery was based in South Africa is seemingly showcased work that was mostly from the European countries and gave exposure to European artists, rather than the artworks of South Africans themselves, Jillian Carman. Edwin Lutyens is the architect that produced the design of the Johannesburg art gallery and in doing so his building was remarkable but the only problem it had was its location and how the actual entrance of the building was in a very awkward position Richard Tomlinson. The stylistic manner of the building was on European nature as he was English himself and the way he was specific when it came to detail in his structure shows that the building was of an artistic kind and therefore needed to embrace art from the exterior through to the interior.
The art gallery had a lot of foundations that helped fund the artists that came to exhibit their art pieces and it made sure that there were a number of artworks being showcased at once, while still being able to change the art pieces, giving different artists a chance. Meaning that the community gained a lot of knowledge about art that came from both the British and Dutch people. But there was still tension amongst the community and the owners of the gallery since they last displayed a South Africans artwork in 1910 which the artist was Anton van Wouw. And all of this boiled down to the fact that the Johannesburg Art Gallery was being run by people who originally came from London. But due to the circumstances the country was in politically, the only artworks that would’ve been recognized from South African would be those of the Afrikaans heritage.
The building created a symbol for itself by housing art that was of a reputable nature, we see this in the likes of famous artworks of people like Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Cezanne, who were people that were well respected in the art industry. Therefore for anyone to be considered for their artworks they need to have been recognized in some form or manner like been given an award or famous through articles and so forth. Later on during the 1940s, the black community was recognized in the Johannesburg Art Gallery but it took much more time for the next black artist to be recognized after that. But today the Gallery is much more diverse and sends out a much more positive message about the worth of different types of people’s artworks and how they all come together to show the talent that lives throughout the world and its different countries and races.


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Jillian Carman (2009: 203- 207). Acquisition policy of the Johannesburg Art Gallery with regards to the South African collection, 1909- 1987.
Marybeth McTeague (2009: 139-152). The Johannesburg art gallery: Lutyens, Lane, and Lady Phillips.
Richard Tomlinson (2003: 231-235). Emerging Johannesburg Perspective on the postapartheid city.

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