Anton van Wouw was born 27 December 1862 at Driebergen, Netherlands and moved to South Africa at age 28 to practise his trade as sculptor. He passed away on 30 June 1945 (aged 82) in Pretoria, in what was then the Union of South Africa. He was regarded as the father of South African sculpture and responsible for some of the largest and most well-known monuments in the country like the statue of then President Paul Kruger on Church Square in Pretoria, the Woman’s monument in Bloemfontein, commemorating woman and children who died in British concentration camps during the Anglo Boer war as well as one of the sculptures surrounding the Voortrekker monument in Pretoria, amongst other as well as many architectural work on buildings. But his most striking works were his smaller works of family friends, indigenous people, and Afrikaner national figures. This was the time of growing Afrikaner nationalism after the Anglo Boer war, and he definitely sympathised with their vision.
After his death, his house (designed by another well-known South African, architect Norman Eaton) as well as the content of his studio was bequeathed to the University of Pretoria, putting us in a good position with numerous works by him where the provenance is impeccable. Over the years the University actively grew their collection of his works.
The house was built in 1938 and recognised as a heritage site in 1989, and we as future conservators are privileged to call this our second home.
Although the house was a museum for some time, the collection has been relocated to the Univerity's Hatfield campus where it is on display in the UP Museums.
More about the house and architect
More about Anton van Wouw sculptures