Tuesday 6 May 2014

House tour: South African art gallery turned home

In Linksfield, Johannesburg a former art gallery has been turned into a home. German-born Egon Guenther, a printmaker and a former art gallerist, specialising in African art, built the house in the late 1950s, and in 1965 he added the gallery. He now lives in the part of the house that used to be the Egon Guenther Gallery and his daughter and her family live in the main house.

The double doors leading into the gallery from a brick courtyard were carved by artist Cecil Skotnes (1926-2009). Guenther represented Skotnes, and artists Edoardo Villa, Sydney Kumalo and Ezrom Legae, "together they had a huge influence on South African art from the 1960s on." Guenther's private collections of African art can be seen in these photos featured in the April 2012 issue of House and Leisure. His collection, which I find both stunning and impressive, used to be much bigger. That was before an auction in New York back in the year 2000.

I collect art, furniture and artefacts, but also books, cameras, pipes, wine, microscopes and more. When you collect, you learn a lot. I have never bought for investment purposes, only for love. A collector’s relationship with his collection is almost like a love affair; you make contact with a piece. That’s why a collector must not become an accumulator; the monetary value is not important. My impulse is to share rather than to keep my collection to myself. There are more important ways to be rich than hoarding. To create a good collection of anything, you must collect with intelligence and knowledge (and a sixth sense, too). I feel the things I collect are very important because they reflect the history of the time. Your collections become a reflection of yourself. Collecting is like a disease… a sickness.
Egon Guenther on collecting

Egon Guenther is both an art collector and a printmaker.

If you are interested in Egon Guenther's background, here is an interview with him about his career.

photo credit:
Elsa Young for House and Leisure, April 2012 | styled by Leana Schoeman

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful and thoughtful quote! The painted doors in the top photo look amazing.


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