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 Edward Roworth  (1880 - 1964)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/South Africa      Known for: landscape and portrait painting, frescoes

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Alphen, Constantia Valley
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Edward Roworth (1880 Lancashire, England, United Kingdom – 1964)

He studied with Tom Wostyn at Heaton, near Manchester; and took some classes with Sir Hubert Herkomer at Bushey; he studied at the Slade School with Henry Tonks and  fresco painting in Florence

1902: Edward Roworth came to South Africa with British forces engaged in Anglo-Boer War; remained and settled in Cape Town; established a teaching studio in Burg St and became active in art-circles; set himself the goal of achieving a distinctively South African style in landscape; joined South African Society of Artists; became center of controversy through public expression of his forthright attitudes; respected as a portraitist and important commissions came his way.

1908: Edward Roworth elected President of South African Society of Artists, a position he occupied again in 1918-20 and 1933-36.

1909: Edward Roworth received his most significant commission, the task of painting the National Convention - a 5m x 6m panel portraying the 33 men assembled to plan Union. The work occupied him until 1911; it was hung in Buckingham Palace before being installed in the House of Assembly, Cape Town.

1912: he painted what are believed to have been the first frescoes in South Africa, in St Phillips Church, Cape Town.

1917: Edward Roworth was commissioned by Studio Publications to write the essay on "Landscape Art in South Africa" for Art of the British Empire Overseas; his influence increased rapidly, but sales of his work fell off during the war and he persuaded Ernest Lezard, the Johannesburg art dealer, to experiment with auctioning paintings - a great success; one painting sold by American auction realized R2 800 - highest price yet received for a South African picture.

1927: although he had previously opposed Leo Francois' South African Institute of Art, during a period of residence in Natal Edward Roworth became an active Council member.

1930: Edward Roworth appointed Trustee of South African National Gallery.

1932: member of the National Academy, later Chairman.

1934: Edward Roworth commissioned by South African Government to paint six panels for South Africa House, London.

1935: Edward Roworth awarded King George V Silver Jubilee Medal for services to art in South Africa. Director of Michaelis Art School.

1938: appointed to Chair of Fine Arts at UCT.

1939: Edward Roworth appointed Acting-Director of South African National Gallery.

1941-48: especially from the time of his appointment as Director of the Gallery in 1941, he was the focus of continuous controversy and criticism; became the protagonist of reactionary and dictatorial artistic attitudes and the bête noire of younger, progressive South African artists; retired as Director in 1948.

1953: Gallery retired from Chair of Fine Arts, appointed Prof Emeritus; turned his full attention to easel-painting and portraiture, a passion he shared with leading South African female portrait painter of the day Helen Anne Petrie; continued to receive important commissions eg portrait of Pres Swart in 1961, but his authority had been superceded and his influence waned. One of his paintings reproduced by I: Schweikerdt (Pty) Ltd

Art Exhibitions:
1903-: one-man art exhibitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg; South African Society of Artists exhibitions.
1924: South African Art, Empire Exhibition, Wembley.
1927: Inaugural Exhibition South African Institute, Durban.
1936: Empire Exhibition, Johannesburg.
1953: Rhodes Centenary Exhibition, Bulawayo.

Public Art Collections
South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Durban Art Gallery; Ann Bryant Gallery, East London; AC White Gallery, Bloemfontein; William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberley; Queenstown Art Gallery; Albany Mus, Grahamstown; King George VI Gallery, Port Elizabeth; Pietersburg Collection

The Strutt Family Trust, The Mayfair Collection (Suisse) SA, The Mayfair Collection (Pty) Ltd, The Mayfair Collection Limited

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