‘…Oliewenhuis – a Neo-Dutch style mansion – was designed by William Mollison, Head Architect of the Department of Public Works and his assistant, John Stockwing Cleland in 1935. Completed in 1941, this mansion, located on Grant’s Hill, served as the residence for the Governor General of the Union of South Africa from 1942…’. It is surrounded by 12 hectares of gardens and natural vegetation and it is beautiful, airy spot in the City.
‘…In 1947, King George VI, his wife and two daughters used Oliewenhuis as residence during their three-day visit to Bloemfontein. After the establishment of the Republic of South Africa in 1961, Oliewenhuis became the official residence for the State Presidents of South Africa during official visits to Bloemfontein…’.
‘…On 19 July 1985, after prolonged campaigning by the art loving citizens of Bloemfontein for an art museum, former State President P.W. Botha released the residence to the National Museum for the purpose of converting it into an art museum…On 11 October 1989, Oliewenhuis Art Museum was officially opened as a satellite of the National Museum…’.
There was quite a small collection on display which was disappointing – no photographs permitted. However, some paintings by Pierneef were lovely, and there are works by Jan Ernst Volschenk, Thomas Baines, Frans Claerhout, and other South African artists, as well as contemporary work.
It was a burning hot day in Bloemfontein – 35C – and after looking at the pictures we were thirsty, and a little peckish!
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Pierneef paintings on Pinterest