One of life’s comforts comes from objects being rediscovered and appreciated afresh. The ever-popular South African Antique, Art & Design Association (SAADA) returns with its Cape Fair on 9-11 February at the Town Hall, Franschhoek. This boutique-style event brings together nine of South Africa’s top antique and art dealers, showcasing their exciting new stock in an intimate setting.
A curated selection of fine art, 20th century design, antiques, ceramics, silver, jewellery, coins and more will be on offer. Fair highlights include: a magnificent vitrified porcelain tile by Esias Bosch (presented by Riaan Bolt Antiques); a focus on the artist John Henry Amshewitz (presented by The Old Corkscrew); a beautiful opalescent glass lamp by Marius-Ernest Sabino (presented by Jeremy Stephen Antiques); and a striking mid-century gold, amethyst and diamond dress ring (presented by Bancroft).
SAADA is steeped in history and tradition. Founded in 1963, it is the oldest association of its kind in South Africa. Keeping up with the ever-changing times, SAADA has evolved into the modern association it is today by including Modern and Contemporary Art, Design, and Jewellery into its portfolio. For them it is all about quality and authenticity.
The Old Corkscrew will host an exclusive exhibition featuring the artworks of John Henry Amshewitz, a distinguished British/South African artist at this years’ SAADA Cape Fair.
Born in England, John Henry Amshewitz earned a prestigious scholarship to study at the Royal Academy schools, where he refined his artistic skills under the guidance of renowned artists like John Singer Sargent and Sir George Clausen. His early career was marked by numerous accolades and exhibitions at the Royal Academy.
In 1907, Amshewitz was commissioned to create four magnificent frescoes for the Liverpool Town Hall, a testament to his exceptional talent. His artistic journey continued with commissions for murals and portraits, including a notable one from Queen Mary in 1915.
Despite facing an injury during his work on the Liverpool murals, Amshewitz embarked on a theatrical engagement in South Africa during World War I. He later settled in Johannesburg, where he skilfully captured the essence of local life and the beauty of gold mining scenes. His commitment to nurturing young artistic talent resulted in the establishment of an art school and a vibrant sketch club.
In 1918, Amshewitz entered a new chapter of his life by marrying and welcoming a son. His impressive body of work includes portraits of notable figures and poignant war memorials, such as “The Great Comforter” in 1921. After a brief return to England in 1922, he continued to exhibit his art and excelled in etchings and dry points, with his work published in renowned publications.
Amshewitz’s art transcended borders and garnered international acclaim, with exhibitions in Italy and France. His pieces found homes in the collections of esteemed individuals, including Prince George and Princess Alice. He also made significant contributions to South African history through artworks such as the three large murals created for South Africa House in London.
Amshewitz’s journey came full circle as he returned to South Africa in 1936, continuing to produce captivating artwork until his passing in 1942, just before his sixtieth birthday. In recognition of his profound contributions to South African art, a street in Johannesburg was named in his honour, spelled Amschewitz Street in Rooseveldt Park. In 1943, a memorial exhibition was held at the City Hall of Johannesburg, graced by Lord Harlech, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in South Africa.
Amshewitz’s art can be found in collections by the V & A in London, the South African Gallery in Cape Town, the Africana Museum in Johannesburg, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and The Metropolitan Museum in New York. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to explore his self-portrait and a collection of family paintings, providing an intimate glimpse into the artist’s personal world.