The exhibition « From Manet to Picasso » Treasures of the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Léon Dierx Museum from La Reunion Island was a huge success! [fr]
For the first time ever, the French art collections from the Léon Dierx Museum and the Johannesburg Art Gallery covering the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century were brought together in a single exhibition. This exhibition, presented at the Léon Dierx Museum in Reunion Island, was a huge success, with 22 165 visitors.
From Édouard Manet to Pablo Picasso, including Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot and Auguste Rodin, this exhibition brought together more than 200 masterpieces from these two exceptional collections. This project was made possible thanks to the collaboration between the Léon Dierx Museum and the Johannesburg Art Gallery and part of a historic partnership between Reunion Island and South Africa.
The museum organised workshops for children entitled "Multiples & Printing". The activities aimed to make young people aware of how to reproduce artworks and all the elements involved (signature, numbering, etc.). Before each session, staff from the museum offered a guided tour of the exhibition. Moreover, the museum also offered seminars about impressionism and its historic significance; the importance of original etching in artistic productions of the late nineteenth century; the influence of the Japanese style on the Nabis people and about the artists and their relationship with the urban concept at the turn of the twentieth century.
It is still possible to see the exhibition on the website of the ‘Iconothèque historique de l’Océan Indien’. Here, you will be able to have a virtual tour of all the pieces of art, free of rights, that were presented in the exhibition.
Beyond the political and economic partnership, Reunion Island has created strong cultural links with South Africa. In 2005, the Léon Dierx Museum welcomed David Goldblatt, an icon of South African photography, and presented the exhibition "About Values". In 2013, within the framework of the cross cultural seasons France-South Africa, "Bridges"– a collaboration work dealing with religions in both countries by the South African photographer Andrew Tshabangu and Reunion photographer René-Paul Savignan – was also shown.
The Léon Dierx Museum and the Johannesburg Art Gallery are currently working on a new project: a cross-exhibition with Japanese print collections (from JAG) and European artworks. More information to come, stay tuned!
The Johannesburg Art Gallery, often referred to as JAG, is located in the centre of Joubert Park in the heart of the business district of Johannesburg. The biggest gallery on the sub-continent, JAG boasts over 9 000 works of art, displayed in 15 exhibition halls and sculpture gardens.
It houses collections of 17th-century Dutch paintings, 18th- and 19th-century British and European art, 19th-century South African works, a large contemporary collection of 20th-century local and international art, and a print cabinet containing works from the 15th century to the present. The Johannesburg Art Gallery’s incredible collection of art includes sculpture, multi-media displays, painting, etching and photography. With the largest art collection in Africa, the Jo’burg Art Gallery’s 15 exhibition halls and sculpture gardens display only about 10 percent of its entire collection at any one time.
The Léon Dierx Museum has an exceptional art collection, one of its kind among the French overseas territories. The museum opened its doors on 12 November 1912. Eclectic at first, the Léon Dierx Museum gradually specialised in the fine arts after the Second World War. Each consecutive curator enriched this collection - in which one can find works by all the well-known French avant-garde artists of the time. In 1990, this collection was enriched with additional contemporary, artworks resonating with the existing historical modern collections. Its’ temporary exhibitions, featuring artists from Reunion Island, the Indian Ocean region, Europe and extra-European artists, have made this museum a must-visit place for art lovers.