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Edward Roworth - South African Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Edward Roworth (1880 - 1964)

Edward Roworth was born in Lancashire, England 1880 - 1964

Art Education
Under Tom Wostyn at Heaton, near Manchester; some classes under Sir Hubert Herkomer
at Bushey; Slade School under Henry Tonks; fresco in Florence

Short Artist Biography
An imposing figure, 195,5 cm tall.
1902: Edward Roworth came to South Africa with British forces engaged in Anglo-Boer War; remained and settled in Cape Town; established a teaching studio in Burg St and became active in art-circles; set himself the goal of achieving a distinctively South African style in landscape; joined South African Society of Artists; became centre of controversy through public expression of his forthright attitudes; respected as a portraitist and important commissions came his way.
1908: Edward Roworth elected President of South African Society of Artists, a position he occupied again in 1918-20 and 1933-36.
1909: Edward Roworth received his most significant commission, the task of painting the National Convention - a 5m x 6m panel portraying the 33 men assembled to plan Union. The work occupied him until 1911; it was hung in Buckingham Palace before being installed in the House of Assembly, Cape Town.
1912: he painted what are believed to have been the first frescoes in South Africa, in St Phillips Church, Cape Twon.
1917: Edward Roworth was commissioned by Studio Publications to write the essay on `Landscape Art in South Africa for `Art of the British Empire Overseas'; his influence increased rapidly, but sales of his work fell off during the war and he persuaded Ernest Lezard, the Johannesburg art dealer, to experiment with auctioning paintings - a great success; one painting sold by American auction realized R2 800 - highest price yet received for a South African picture.
1927: although he had previously opposed Leo Francois' South African Institute of Art, during a period of residence in Natal Edward Roworth became an active Council mem-ber.
1930: Edward Roworth appointed Trustee of South African National Gallery.
1932: member of the National Academy, later Chairman.
1934: Edward Roworth commissioned by South African Governmennt to paint six panels for South Africa House, London.
1935: Edward Roworth awarded King George V Silver Jubilee Medal for services to art in South Africa. Director of Michaelis Art School.
1938: appointed to Chair of Fine Arts at UCT.
1939: Edward Roworth appointed Acting-Director of South African National Gallery.
1941-48: especially from the time of his appointment as Director of the Gallery in 1941, he was the focus of continuous controversy and criticism; became the protagonist of reactionary and dictatorial artistic attitudes and the bete noire of younger, progressive South African artists; retired as Director in 1948.
1953: Gallery retired from Chair of Fine Arts, appointed Prof Emeritus; turned his full attention to easel-painting and portraiture; continued to receive important commissions eg portrait of Pres Swart in 1961, but his authority had been superceded and his influence waned. One of his paintings reproduced by I: Schweikerdt (Pty) Ltd

Art Exhibitions
1903-: one-man art exhibitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg; South African Society of Artists exhibitions.
1924: South African Art, Empire Exhibition, Wembley.
1927: Inaugural Exhibition South African Institute, Durban.
1936: Empire Exhibition, Johannesburg.
1953: Rhodes Centenary Exhibition, Bulawayo.

Public Art Collections
South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Durban Art Gallery; Ann Bryant Gallery, East London; AC White Gallery, Bloemfontein; William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberley; Queenstown Art Gallery; Albany Mus, Grahamstown; King George VI Gallery, Port Elizabeth; Pietersburg Collection

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

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