South Africans are in for a rare double treat this month when a selection of works from the Kilbourn Collection of  Modern and Contemporary South African Art go on show alongside the many gems of the famed Boerneef collection comprising works by Irma Stern, Jean Welz, Maggie Laubser and other South African master painters permanently housed at the historic Welgemeend House in Cape Town.

Passionately assembled over almost 30  years by Frank and Lizelle Kilbourn, it is the only the second time the collection is being shown in the public domain and since Welgemeend itself is seldom open to the public it will be an extraordinary privilege to view both collections on designated days throughout August at the magnificent 17th century estate in the heart of the mother city.

Boerneef is the pen name used by the late Professor IW van der Merwe,  linguist, poet, author  and lecturer in Afrikaans and Dutch literature. He never owned a car or travelled abroad because  he preferred to fuel his passion for buying paintings and on his death ensured a public place for his magnificent collection by bequeathing it to Jan van Riebeeck high school.

Indicative of the extraordinarily high support and interest in the arts is that tickets are already sold out for the exclusive fundraising dinner that will precede the opening of the exhibition.

Sponsored jointly by Strauss and Co. and the Kilbourns, the dinner will be followed by a discussion titled “The Art Market: Driven by Collectors or Investors?“ and feature Stephan Welz, South Africa’s art doyen and managing director of Strauss and Co, Herman Steyn, the executive director and founder of the Scheryn Art Fund and Frank Kilbourn, businessman and art collector.

Funds raised from the sale of the  dinner tickets, as well as a mini auction of select items will boost those raised annually to support the ongoing upkeep, restoration and conservation of the Boerneef Collection.

“Strauss and Co. are proud of their long-standing association with Welgemeend and the Boerneef Art Collection which goes back to the close relationship shared by my father Jean and Boerneef. By committing our time and energy to selected causes we can help ensure that important historical treasure-troves of art such as Boerneef’s are preserved for posterity,” said Stephan Welz .

It is no co-incidence that the two collections are being shown together as besides sharing a love and passion for art the Kilbourns share Boerneef’s commitment to education and cultural development, particularly for the youth.

“They share Boerneef’s determination to expose children to art and his philosophy that by making your collection accessible to the public you create future artists and collectors. Like Boerneef, the Kilbourn Collection is built on account of love,  and by a passionate interest not only in the paintings but also for the artists with whom they have formed close ties.

“They collect artworks that appeal to them, they buy works that are dictated by their heart and soul. They invest in quality paintings, not necessarily the most expensive. They have built an honest collection of art,  not by following whims and fashion,  but one that is a source of daily inspiration”.

“We encourage everyone not to miss this rare opportunity to see an important sector of our cultural heritage. Schools and scholars of all institutions in particular should be encouraged to arrange a visit,” said Stephan Welz.