Book Review

Art and Ambiguity

Perspectives on the Brenthurst Collection of Southern African Art

by Johannesburg Art Gallery

The catalogue Art and Ambiguity: Perspectives on the Brenthurst collection of Southern African Art accompanied the landmark exhibition of the same name at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 1991.

The exhibition consisted of a wide range of Southern African material such as headrests, snuff containers, staffs and figures, that were purchased from the collector Jonathan Lowen with Oppenheimer funds and named the Brenthurst Collection, as well as the AA Jacques collection of African headrests which had been acquired by the JAG.

It includes important essays reading identity and authenticity, and explores the movement of these objects from the field to colonial collections to museums. There are many black and white illustrations.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery collections represent one of the finest single collections of Southern African tribal art and this important catalogue is an essential addition to any serious collector’s library.