John Dewey said: “Art is not the possession of the few who are recognized writers, painters, musicians; it is the authentic expression of any and all individuality. Those who have the gift of creative expression in unusually large measure disclose the meaning of the individuality of others to those others. In participating in the work of art, they become artists in their activity. They learn to know and honour individuality in whatever form it appears. The fountains of creative activity are discovered and released. The free individuality which is the source of art is also the final source of creative development in time.”
In and around Stellenbosch you’ll find many opportunities to drink in beauty and creative expression, whether it is a garden dedicated to sculpture or one of the many galleries exhibiting classic or work from emerging artists, you will find your fix.
Start your day with a visit the Rupert Museum. The Rupert Museum showcases the unique private art collection started in the 1940s by the late Anton and Huberte Rupert. The exhibitions change seasonally and often include the acclaimed public commission, completed between 1929 and 1932, The Johannesburg Station Panels by Artist JH Pierneef. These works have been characterised as the epitome of the South African landscape genre. On the last Saturday of every month, the Museum showcases a #MuseumSaturday programme often including food and/or wine.
Open Tuesday – Sunday
Time: Allow a couple of hours to explore, reflect and immerse in this great museum of modern art.
After spending a few hours in the Rupert Museum, make your way to the Stellenbosch CBD for lunch at one of the many restaurants and eateries in town, such as Genki, Hussar Grill, Fat Butcher, Helena’s, Jardine Restaurant, De Vleispaleis to name a few.
For a full day excursion join a Winelands Art Tour and take in the sips and sights of Stellenbosch as you explore the cellars, sculpture gardens, museums and art studios of the Cape Winelands. You’ll meet local artists and winemakers alike as you discover and celebrate their unique creativity and crafts in the company of a knowledgeable guide. Safe transport between venues is provided and the tours include all wine/gin tastings, bubbly/lemonade, and coffee/tea on arrival. It excludes lunch and gratuity.
Spend the rest of the day browsing the many galleries around Stellenbosch, ideally situated in short walking distance from each other. Here are a few of our favourite galleries:
Die DorpStraat Gallery, Church Street
GUS (Gallery University Stellenbosch), Dorp Street
The Red Teapot Gallery, cnr Church & Andringa Streets
Vincent da Silva, Church Street
SMAC Art Gallery, Church Street
Stellenbosch Art Gallery, Andringa Street
Absolut Art Gallery, cnr Plein & Ryneveld Streets
Hembisa Jewellery, Drostdy Street
After spending a day browsing the galleries and shops of Stellenbosch, pop into one of our wine bars or coffee shops lining the streets of Stellenbosch for a refreshing glass of wine or a cup of coffee.
If you wish to spend the night, accommodation that will inspire your creative soul includes:
Majeka House – www.majekahouse.co.za
Spier Hotel – www.spier.co.za
Bartinney Wine Estate – www.bartinney.co.za
A must-do experience for art lovers in Stellenbosch is a visit to the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, situated a stone throw outside of Stellenbosch.
In this garden of private myth, the artist explores the Jungian notion of ‘the wilderness within.’ More than 60 sculptures constituting a comprehensive record of his artistic development thus far have been carefully sited along 4 km of walking paths.
The project began in 2009 when Lewis hired an excavator to create a level play area for his children behind their house on the farm and began creating what would become a 7-hectare sculpture garden. Visit to the garden is by appointment only and can be enjoyed as part of a scheduled, guided tour or explored at your own pace.
After spending a few hours at Dylan Lewis, head on over to the Equus Gallery at Cavalli Wine and Stud Estate.
One of the Winelands’ best-kept secrets, the subterranean Equus Gallery hosts contemporary exhibitions of local artists and sculptors (all available for purchase) under a stretched translucent ceiling with backlit LEDs to simulate daylight. You can also enjoy a wine tasting at Cavalli, dine at the restaurant for lunch or dinner or go on a stud tour.
Round your day off with a visit to Spier Wine Farm. Pair a delightful wine tasting with a visit to the craft market and mosaic garden at Spier. Showcasing contemporary and traditional works by South African artists and crafters, the outdoor display houses gallery-level paintings and handmade Nguni-style tapestries, along with handmade jewellery, wood and leather work, textiles and ceramics.
There’s something for everyone at Spier! Spier offers a variety of dining experiences and family friendly activities including eagle encounters, wine tastings, segway tours for the adventurous as well as a world-class hotel and conference facilities.
On day three in the winelands, explore the northern side of Stellenbosch.
Delaire Graff Estate
Laurence Graff’s private art collection is something to behold. In 2013, a very special painting was returned home to South Africa and Delaire Graff Estate – one of the most iconic pieces of the 20th Century – and the first piece of art to inspire a lifelong passion in Laurence Graff. Guests can admire Vladimir Tretchikoff’s iconic Chinese Girl, currently on display in the entrance to the main building.
In the gardens, you’ll find many regal sculptures by masters like Deborah Bell, Dylan Lewis, Anton Smit and Lionel Smit. Take an afternoon to enjoy the tranquil garden setting, which blooms 365 days a year thanks to its celebrity horticulturalist designer, Keith Kirsten.
While at Delaire Graff, you can enjoy a wine tasting or sit down for lunch or dinner at one of their two acclaimed restaurants, Indochine or Delaire Graff Restaurant.
Glass Museum at Glenelly Estate
May de Lencquesaing’s spectacular glass collection housed in the winery pays tribute to her life-long passion for rare and contemporary glass. You’ll be surprised and delighted to discover the many attributes beautiful glass shares with fine wine. One of the largest privately-owned collections in the world, the exhibits range from the first and second centuries to modern classics, including pieces by Salvador Dali and Lino Tagliapietra. Visitors are able to learn through a journey retracing the 2000-year history of glassmaking, each of the 500 beautifully illuminated creations, antique and contemporary from around the world, telling a story.
Glenelly also offers wine tastings or dining at The Vine Bistro.
Marvol Art Gallery at Hazendal Estate
The latest addition to the art scene in the Stellenbosch Winelands is the Marvol Art Gallery at the newly renovated Hazendal Estate. This unique exhibition space offers a glimpse into Russian art, culture, and history. Alongside the owner’s extensive private collections, the gallery provides a platform for old and new artistic trends between South Africa and Russia with rotating exhibitions, talks and events.
Exhibitions are changed regularly and once a year, visitors are treated to a spectacular collection of Fabergé Eggs, from the owner’s private collection, so keep an eye out for it!
Hazendal Estate also offers three dining options, wine tastings and a state-of-the-art Edutainment centre, Wonderdal, to entertain children aged five to thirteen.