For over 35 years, Jack Ginsberg, well-known art collector, philanthropist and longstanding Friends of JAG treasurer, has assembled an extraordinary collection of more than 700 artworks, books and ephemera by esteemed South African artist Walter Battiss.
Ginsberg bought his first Battiss when he was in his early 20s but only started collecting the artist’s work in earnest after Battiss’ death. In an interview, Ginsberg said that Battiss was “very influential” when he was growing up.
Ginsberg has donated this collection to WAM, where it is currently on show. There are of course many highlights in such a diverse and rich anthology, but one of the most surprising is a collection of more than 30 examples of the erotica that Battiss created in protest against the apartheid government’s censorship.
Curator of the exhibition, Warren Siebrits, said the collection’s breadth and depth were “unsurpassed as a teaching facility … it is one thing to study an artwork, it is another thing to have it right there in the storeroom”.
“I invented myself” The Jack Ginsberg Collection runs from 6 July – 9 October 2016 at Wits Art Museum, corner of Bertha (ext. of Jan Smuts Ave) and Jorissen Streets, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
The exhibition is accompanied by a beautifully bound 335-page illustrated catalogue.