The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa has introduced a private ‘Art-Tea’ Tour, where art aficionados will be treated to an hour guided tour of the hotel’s impressive art collection by art expert Estelle Jacobs. Following the tour one is welcome to book for the famous ‘Tea by the Sea’ in order to relax and enjoy the sweeter things in life.
As the tour began, I could feel that Estelle had a world of art knowledge ready at her fingertips to share with us. The impressive art collection has been carefully curated by the Tollman family, owners of the hotel. The hotel’s spectacular location was the inspiration for many of the art works on display, including the mountain scenes that have been painted countless times in the 19th and 20th centuries – most famously by the Dutch/South African painter Tinus De Jongh and his son Gabriel De Jongh. Many of their oil paintings fill up the reception of the hotel.
A series of Protea paintings lead up the staircase from the lobby to the Azure restaurant, where a newly acquired Protea painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff is on full display. Other paintings which make up this remarkable family art collection include Walter Battiss, JH Pierneef, Robert Gwelo Goodman, Sydney Carter, WH Coetzee, Francois Krige and Hugo Naude, Maggie Loubser, Gerard Sekoto as well as George Pemba, who are recognised as the pioneers of black artists in South Africa.
Other works on permanent exhibition in the hotel include a beautiful set of Cecil Skotnes woodcuts that were inspired by poems of Charles Eglington; wildlife paintings by Robert Koch; and a large realistic canvas by Deborah Poynton which is by far my favourite piece. This three piece painting is so hypo realistic that it almost seems like a unique photography. She manages to depict nature, capitalism and poverty all in one image with a glimpse of hope and new beginnings.
The art collection shows great variety, showcasing artists from Africa to Europe, ranging from funky animal paintings by Tanya Durr Boschoff and an unusual 20th century painting by John Henry Amshewitz of the arrival of Jan van Riebeek in the Cape in 1652 to a vibrant wall mural by Jane du Rand that showcases the magnificent potential of mosaic and the effects of light and sun. Her pieces hang outside by the pools and her three-dimensional approach to mosaic is breath-taking.
Another spectacular piece is the wire structure in the garden which depicts a flower arrangements of vast proportions. The wire is weaved as inspiration of the Zulu tradition and the artist found weaving wire therapeutic. The sculpture is utterly glorious.
This tour is suitable for groups of 2-20 people and is open to hotel guests and the general public. Make sure to book your private tour for a day of culture and delicious snacks while you soak in the splendour of the hotel’s gorgeous location.
Photography courtesy of Romi Stoch and 12 Apostles