Journal Article

Artistically or historically important?: The reception of the Abe Bailey sporting art collection in South Africa

Anna Tietze

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 23, issue 1, pages 165-177
Published in print May 2011 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhq020
Artistically or historically important?: The reception of the Abe Bailey sporting art collection in South Africa

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The reception of the Abe Bailey bequest to South Africa's National Gallery in 1940 is here examined, and in particular the response to its large British sporting art section. It is argued that the general response was poor and that two criticisms in particular prevailed, namely that the genre of sporting art was irrelevant to its South African location and/or that it was typified by work that, qualitatively, did not merit a place in a serious art gallery. The paper details the almost continuous pressure placed on the Bailey sporting art collection up to the late 1970s, but suggests that its fate might have been little better in its home country. It argues, however, that the past decade has witnessed a new interest in the Bailey sporting collection and ascribes this amelioration to changing attitudes, internationally, towards the function of art galleries and the interests of their audiences.

Journal Article.  10391 words. 

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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