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John Dronsfield - South African Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - John Dronsfield (1900 - 1951)

John Dronsfield was born in Lancashire, England 1900 - 1951

Art Education
- John Dronsfield studied briefly at Manchester Art School; mainly self-taught.

Short Artist Biography
- 1918 John Dronsfield enlisted in Young Soldiers’ Battalion – Cheshire Regiment.
- 1919 Discharged as physically unfit.
- 1923 John Dronsfield began stage-designing with Sybil Thorndike; worked n London as a stage-designer and advertising artist.
- 1939 John Dronsfield eettled in South Africa – Cape Town. Built a reputation as an imaginative stage-designer for ballet and straight drama.
- 1942 John Dronsfield published ‘Non-Europeans Only’ – a book of drawings of the Cape Coloured community.
- 1945 – 1948 John Dronsfield worked with Gwen Ffrancogn-Davies and Marda Vanne in theatrical productions which were a major contribution to the development of theatre in South Africa. Also wrote incidental music for ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ Member of International Art Club, South Africa.
- 1951 Death by suicide.
- 1955 Posthumous publication of a collection of his verses and satires by Oxford University Press. His friends, led by Dennis Bullough & David Schrire, published two portfolios of reproductions of his graphic studies, entitled ‘African Improvisations’.

Art Exhibitions
- 1939 First one-man art exhibition, Cape Town.
- 1948 Overseas Exhibition of South African Art, Tate Gallery.
- 1950 Venice Biennale.
- 1955 Memorial Exhibition, South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town.
- 1967 Memorial Exhibition, Wolpe Gallery, Cape Town.

Public Art collections
South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town; William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley; Durban Art Gallery; Africana Museum, Johannesburg; University of Wits Art Galleries.

Berman, E. 1994. Art & Artists of South Africa . Southern Book Publishers.

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