The South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town

An art museum of international stature
The South African National Gallery, Cape Town. © Iziko Museums of Cape Town
The South African National Art Gallery houses collections of local as well as pan-African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art. Its collection of beadwork is amongst the most important in the country and it also has a significant catalogue of apartheid art.

Did you know?

Sir Abe Bailey's bequest of 400 artworks is one of the world's largest collections of British sporting art in a public museum.

The South African National Art Gallery, part of Cape Town's Iziko Museums, features impressive collections ranging from colonial to contemporary art. Its historical and modern overview of art in South Africa makes it a must-see attraction for art-lovers from around the world.

Located in the beautiful Company's Gardens, the gallery's permanent collection, which is rotated regularly, is one of this South African art's gallery's main attractions. Its over 8000 art works feature a variety of paintings, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and works on paper. It is also often supplemented by visiting exhibitions from abroad that explore contemporary themes in interesting and sometimes controversial ways.

The gallery's contemporary collection includes an authoritative catalogue of 1980s apartheid art, as well as art by Dan Halter, Willem Boshoff, Barend de Wet, Kathryn Smith, Alan Davie, Marlene Dumas, Robert Hodgins, William Kentridge, Ronald Kitaj, Michael Porter, Gerard Sekoto, Penny Siopis, Irma Stern and John Walker. The Butcher Boys sculpture by Jane Alexander is amongst the gallery's best-known modern works.

The gallery has also been involved in the repatriation of artifacts removed from South Africa over the last 200 years. Since 1990 it has acquired work focusing on the different cultures of the African continent. Its respected collection of beadwork and indigenous sculpture is amongst one of the most significant collections in the country.

Founded in 1871 with a donation of 45 paintings by British maritime artist Sir Thomas Butterworth, the main body of the colonial collection consists of Dutch, French and British works from the 17th to the 19th century, including lithographs, etchings and paintings.

Also look out for the teak doors in the courtyard. Known as the Lieberman Doors, they were carved by Herbert Vladimir Meyerowitz and represent the global wanderings of the Jewish people.

Travel tips & PlanningĀ info

Who to contact

The South African National Gallery
Tel: +27 (0) 21 467 4660

How to get here

The National Art Gallery, in central Cape Town,is easily accessible by car, taxi or bus.

Around the area

The South African National Gallery is located in the historic Company's Gardens, close to the Parliament Buildings, the Holocaust Museum, the Planetarium and many other central attractions.

What will it cost

Entrance to the gallery is R20 per person. Pensioners and students pay R10 and, visitors under 18 are free.

What's happening

Exhibitions and special events feature regularly, so check the website for details.

Best buys

Become a friend of the South African National Gallery and qualify for free admission to the gallery,invitations to openings and special events and a quarterly Friends' newsletter to keep you informed about all Friends' events, walkabouts of exhibitions, lectures and films.