A notable family collection of masterpieces by celebrated local and international artists is being hosted by Steenberg Hotel & Spa in the Constantia Wine Valley.
Made possible by Beck Family Philanthropy, the family’s love of South African art is evident in the installations and works that adorn the interior and outdoor spaces of Steenberg Vineyards.
With no less than 17 colourful steel sculptures by abstract artist Edoardo Villa waiting to be discovered, a stroll through the gardens and vineyards holds surprising treasures.
The interior of the hotel and Tryn restaurant reveals a collection which includes Henry Moore, Irma Stern and Cecil Skotnes. With Norval Foundation, the neighbouring art museum and sculpture garden on the doorstep, Steenberg Hotel & Spa is a hub of art and cultural expression.
Known for his larger-than-life steel installations and bronze abstract sculptures, Italian born Edoardo Villa settled in Johannesburg after being stationed in Africa during the Second World War. Rejecting traditional European art practices that dominated the 1950s and inspired by the geometric forms of traditional African sculpture, Villa went on to become South Africa’s foremost abstract sculptor. His red African Astronaut on the lawns watching over the 17th century werf, typifies the latter part of his career.
Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure graces the wall of one of the luxurious hotel suites. Considered one of the most significant British artists of the 20th century, drawing was critical to his artistic practice. Created in 1973, this is an example of his imagination and observation, sourced from surrounding objects and his personal thoughts.
Known for his painted and incised wooden panels, striking woodblock prints, public murals, tapestries and sculpture, Cecil Skotnes pioneered the use of earth pigments and indigenous wood to construct visual stories about the African past. His oil on a carved wooden panel entitled Head, is a fine portrayal of his work.
The reception area greets guests with an almost life-size bronze sculpture, Leopard Head, by Dylan Lewis. Most famous for his works of African wild cats, Lewis has emerged as one of the foremost figures in contemporary sculpture.
Mongezi Ncaphayi first became recognised for exploring socio-political themes concerning migration and the history of the migrant labour system. His large-scale, quietly abstract paintings offer a layered celebratory interpretation of displacement and spiritual unrest. Ncaphayi’s Distant Nowhere exhibited in the reception area of Tryn Restaurant displays his unique visual language.
Tryn is also home to the work of Irma Stern. Her post-impressionist portrait, The Initiate, has pride of place in the restaurant. Stern achieved acclaim during her lifetime and remains one of the country’s most celebrated artists.
Sidney Goldblatt spent 10 years in commerce before pursuing fine art at schools in London and Paris and taking up residency in Spain painting surrounding village scenes. His stylised and semi-abstract work was well received upon his return to South Africa. His Hartebeest can be found on one of the staircases leading off the hotel reception area.
In addition to these pieces, there is a wide selection of other works by leading artists.