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The Durban Art Gallery collections include everything from current and historical art and artefacts of KwaZulu-Natal to English masterpieces, from anonymous carvings, clay pots and beadwork to the works of celebrated South African artists like Andrew Verster and Penny Siopis.

The Gallery celebrated its centenary in 1992. Cathcart William Methven, Harbour Engineer of the day, gave one of his paintings to the Town Council in 1892. Various donations and purchases were subsequently made, and in 1920 Colonel R.H. Whitwell, art connoisseur and philanthropist, presented over 400 works to the Gallery, including British, French and Dutch paintings, objets d'art such as French and Chinese ceramics, early glass vases by Lalique and bronzes by Rodin. This established the character of the foreign collection. From the 1970s on, many works of local artists and crafts-people were added to the collection, and the Gallery's collecting focus is now largely concentrated on works which reflect the rich multi-cultural diversity of Durban and South Africa. The holdings now include over 3500 works.

Rodin PicThe Durban Art Gallery is more than just a collection of works of art. It promotes an awareness of art in general , and of the art and culture of KwaZulu-Natal in particular, through a variety of activities including workshops and films. It also regularly hosts travelling exhibitions of works which do not belong to the Gallery, such as the Images of Human Rights Exhibition.