Thursday, May 26, 2011

op soek na Bill Hart in die Johannesburg Art Gallery

Please let me know where I can find a copy!
Monday April 11th, 2011

Scurry along the side streets. The glare of the sun hits bleaks your view but still you don't look down at one week's worth of neglected garbage from the Pikitup strike.

You duck into Joubert Park and find solice in the Johannesburg Art Gallery. You are greeted by the terribly witty and charming Jo Burger, Head Librian. 

Below the gallery rooms, you will find a goldmine of information all relevant to South African art history. Certainly more then the 5 books at Centraal Bibliotheek, Amsterdam -- you scoff!

This one called Polly Street, the Story of an Art Centre -- there's a book you haven't seen before. Wasn't this the formally known Jubliee Center, where Bill once worked? Surely...during the years of Apartheid?

Jo hustles the shelves and comes up with the original issues of ARTLOOK magazine. At her suggestion, you spend some time scanning...

ARTLOOK 18 May 1968. Registered at the GPO as a Newspaper, 30c

Jo has now supplied you with carbon copies of every possible article with the words "Bill Hart" in it. Some of the books which linger in your memory are:

- Land & Lives, a Story of Early Black Artists by Elza Miles
- Art & Artists of South Africa by Esmé Berman
- Contemporary African Art in South Africa by EJ de Jager
- Dictionary of South African Painters & Sculptors by Cecil Skotnes

Would you have ever found these books without Jo's help??

outside the paradise of books
reality struck
There are plenty of other books that need your attention, but for now it's back on the streets of the smelly CBD.

Of course you don't leave without signing the guestbook, copying some of your archive files into the library computer and feeling quite proud, because:

"the Johannesburg Art Gallery now holds a file on Bill Hart"

Many hearfelt thanks to Jo Burger and the Johannesburg Art Gallery for helping us define the search for Bill Hart.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Saturday April 9, 2011 : a visit to Dr John and Sasa Mosendane in Soweto

The photograph above left was retrieved from Bill's cut + paste portfolio and appears to have been taken in Mosendane's garden some 30 years ago. The photograph on the left depicts the same garden today... not much has changed at first glance although Bill's piece is faded substanially from outdoor wear. The darlings in the old photo are: Msindi, Thabo and Tshinakaho, now grown into beautiful, successful women.

I was particularly interested in meeting Dr Mosendane, having understood that he is still a prominant citizen of Soweto. Perhaps one of the few people to continue living in a township once he had gained fortune in his medical practice. This shows endurance and dedication, well respected attributes in times of oppression.

Bill, I imagine, must've been equally proud of the fact that Dr Mosendane had commissioned him to do this garden relief and two tower sculptures, which flank a rounded window in the living room.

I had asked Dr Mosendane if Bill had ever invited him to the Hart House for a sunday evening film & braai (as Bill had often done). Dr Mosendane admitted that he had been invited once but for one reason or another wasn't able to go. I couldn't help but wonder if a friendship was pending between these two men and if Mosendane had been there on said day their relationship would've changed in any way.

Regardless, Bill's work is featured in Mosendane's extensive South African art collection which includes artists such as Edoardo VillaGerard Sekoto and Lucky Sibiya.

Dr Mosendane his still retains connections with some of the remaining artists (whom active during times of Apartheid) and he is familiar with Linda Goodman, once Bill's main agent in the art world.

signed L.Sibiya, collection Mosendane

Many thanks to Dr Mosendane & his lovely wife
for sharing their wealth of culture and history.

...oops! I almost forgot this l'il beauty !

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bill Hart played "Flank"  1946  -  1947

 Thursday April 14th 2011

One of Bill's most favourite things in the world: RUGBY!

I knew that he had attended the Parktown Boys High School and a drive down to Auckland Park to visit the school proved to be worth the effort!

Thanks to the Parktown Head Coach, Mr.R, I was able to obtain copies of the rugby team photographs where a young William Hart shows his grubby elbows.

Mr.R simply removed the photographs from the wall of the school gymnasium and gave them to me to get them scanned and xeroxed down the road..!

Mr. R: you're the best!

Historical Background of the Parktown Boys (as cited on their website):

The origins of Parktown Boys' High School may be traced back to 1920 when the school was established on a site now occupied by the SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.  In 1923 the present school was founded in Wellington Road, the original building now being a National Monument.  Past Parktonians have acquitted themselves as leaders of commerce, renowned academics and international sportsmen.

hmmm...they seemed to have forgotten to mention ARTISTS??

For more information on Parktown Boys go to: