Art Month at Welgemeend

Cecil Skotnes, African Still Life, from the Kilbourn Collection

Art Month at Welgemeend, an annual celebration of arts and culture held every August in the historic manor home in Gardens, returns in 2021.

This year’s Art Month at Welgemeend celebrates a special milestone as collector Frank Kilbourn, who with his wife, Lizelle, initiated this month-long art event in 2014, turns 60.

“We have tied my coming of age into an exciting programme coordinated around the theme 60/360,” says Frank Kilbourn, a businessman and executive chairperson of auction house Strauss & Co.

“Art Month at Welgemeend 2021 will showcase works from the Kilbourn Collection, including some early pieces acquired with the assistance of art dealer Leon Strydom, who sadly passed away from Covid. Leon established the Strydom Gallery in George in 1968 and played an important role in our journey as young collectors. This is an opportunity to pay homage to Leon as well as to affirm the role of art in maintaining a 360-degree view of life.”

A joint initiative between the Friends of Welgemeend, Frank and Lizelle Kilbourn, Strauss & Co, Delaire Graff Estate and others, Art Month at Welgemeend 2021 will officially start on Saturday August 14 with a dinner (limited numbers) and a hybrid fundraising auction, which will be live-streamed to allow online participation.

Highlights from the month-long programme, which ends on Friday September 17, include a classical piano recital by musical virtuoso Gerhard Joubert on Sunday September 12, exhibition walkabouts conducted by Frank Kilbourn and an art lecture series organised by Strauss & Co.

The programme of lectures includes:

– Decorative arts specialist Sophie-Louise Fröhlich will discuss the evolution of the dinner table from the 16th to the 19th century, with particular focus on the 18th century on Monday August 30, at 6pm.

– Senior art specialist Ian Hunter will provide a glimpse into JH Pierneef’s processes of making and his mastery of most media on Tuesday August 31, at 6pm.

– Wine specialist Higgo Jacobs will discuss the rewards in cellaring fine wine correctly, from an investment as well as enjoyment point of view on Wednesday September 1, at 6pm. Lecture includes a tasting.

– Senior art specialist Matthew Partridge will discuss Irma Stern’s career defining exhibition Peintures D’Afrique in 1947 at the Wildenstein Gallery in Paris on Saturday September 4, at noon.

This year’s programming marks a return to limited in-person programming following the fully digital edition of Art Month at Welgemeend in 2020. The hybrid nature of Art Month at Welgemeend 2021 is unavoidably subject to current health guidelines and state regulations.

“This year’s Art Month at Welgemeend takes place at a difficult time for South Africans, but our aim nonetheless is to offer a vibrant celebration of a special birthday and commemoration of an important friend,” says Lizelle Kilbourn, a lawyer who with her husband, Frank, began collecting art while a student at the University of Johannesburg. “The pandemic has prompted us all to be mindful of our relationships with family, friends, colleagues and the world at large. To live a happy, contented and successful life, one has to have a 360-degree outlook on the world.”

Founded in 1693, Welgemeend houses a collection of earlier 20th-century masterpieces assembled by Afrikaans poet and scholar Izak Wilhelmus “Boerneef” van der Merwe.

Visit and for a full list of the art month events.