Earlier this week family members, friends and colleagues of the late Stephan Welz gathered at the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) to honour his contribution to the development of the centre.
The well-known auctioneer and fine art expert passed away in December 2015 at age 72.
In 2013, a proposal was submitted to the University's Council to establish an arts centre on the campus. This proposal was initiated by the offer of a very generous donation from the Javett Foundation Trust, and was facilitated through project sponsor Stephan Welz, the then Managing Director of Strauss & Co.
Fast forward to Heritage Day last year when the Javett-UP opened to over 1 600 art lovers, curious members of the public, members of the diplomatic community, UP staff, students and the press.
The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria.
Welz was familiar with the increase in the worldwide interest in the art of Africa and his inspired recommendation to Michael Javett and Professor Antony Melck planted the seed for the establishment of the Javett-UP as a home for the art of Africa, and a teaching and learning space for the University of Pretoria's community, and for the public.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe asked those present to reflect on the man who planted the seed for the journey taken by the University of Pretoria and the Arts Centre Foundation, a man hailed by the Art Times as "the toast of what good South African art had to offer itself and the world".
Aside from temporary exhibitions, the Javett-UP houses three permanent collections. They are the AngloGold Ashanti Barbier-Mueller Gold of Africa collection; the Javett Foundation’s collection of 20th century South African art, which contains a number of significant works; and the Mapungubwe Gold, an archeological collection which is historically and culturally important for South Africa, the southern African region and the world.
The inaugural exhibition, titled 101 Collecting Conversations: Signature Works of a Century, features highlights from collections around the country and remains on exhibition until the end of June 2020.
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