August Art Month

The Welgemeend Art Month had its humble beginnings in 2013 following an appeal by the late Stephan Welz, renowned art auctioneer and chairperson of Strauss & Co at the time. In 2013 Stephan, realising the importance of the Welgemeend Homestead and its collection and the need for restorative maintenance, suggested the hosting of a fund-raising function at Welgemeend. The inaugural event was held in August 2014. It included a dinner, an auction of selected items, and a discussion titled ”Is Collecting Art?” between Stephan and Frank Kilbourn, then one of Strauss & Co’s clients and a passionate collector and lover of art. This first event was well received, raised much needed funds, and put the annual Welgemeend August Art Month on the map.

2022 August Art Month from 5 until 31 August

Paying Homage to Die Kunskamer, the gallery that changed the course of South African Art

Raising funds for the upkeep and maintenance of Welgemeend forms an integral part of the August Art Month programme. An online fundraising auction for the benefit of Welgemeend will, be held on the Strauss & Co platform as part of their August online-only auction taking place from 22 to 29 August 2022 –

For more details on the exceptional auction lots, please click on the following link:
A heart felt thank you to Strauss & Co for their generosity in this regard.



Including works from the Kilbourn Collection, Die Kunskamer/Schachat Collection, Wiese Collection and other Collections

Deborah Poynton - Safe House | Die Kunskamer / Schachat Collection
Deborah Poynton | Safe House | Die Kunskamer / Schachat Collection

August Art Month is an annual celebration of arts and culture hosted by collectors Frank and Lizelle Kilbourn in the historic Cape Town manor house of Welgemeend. Established in 2014 and hosted in collaboration with the Friends of Welgemeend and Strauss & Co, August Art Month always presents a themed art exhibition featuring rare and important artworks from private collections.

This year’s exhibition is titled Homage: Erken/Verken (5-31 August) and celebrates the achievements of art market pioneers Louis and Charlotte Schachat, founders in 1971 of the legendary Cape Town art Gallery, Die Kunskamer.

“Louis Schachat had a big influence on me and opened my eyes to many artists,” says Strauss & Co chairperson Frank Kilbourn, who was a longstanding client of Die Kunskamer. “I have many works that Oom Louis handled, including Irma Stern’s Two Arabs. He taught me the importance of buying what you love, not what you think is a good investment. He also introduced me to exciting contemporary artists. The exhibition Homage: Erken/ Verken commemorates the role a gallery plays in influencing collecting habits. It also acknowledges the immense support Die Kunskamer provided the local art market, not only by promoting established artists but in taking brave positions on little known artists.”

Louis Schachat was born into a farming family in Robertson, in the Western Cape, in 1926. His father was a Lithuanian Jew and his mother English. He attended an Afrikaans school and grew up speaking Afrikaans and Yiddish. He studied law at the University of Cape Town and practiced as a lawyer for several years before, in 1971, opening Die Kunskamer with his wife, Charlotte, in Cape Town. By this time the Schachats were already seasoned collectors.

Through Die Kunskamer, the Schachats established a reputation as pacesetting dealers with a committed focus on South African art. Their asking price of R5 000 for a Stern caused a stir early on. The Schachats established further benchmarks. They were the first buyers to pay more than R1 million for a work by Irma Stern, and in 2010 paid well over R10 million for a Stern still life. When Louis Schachat died in 2013, at age 87, the Sunday Times ran a fulsome obituary: “More than anyone, he was responsible for the rise in the monetary value, recognition and status of South African art.

The story of Die Kunskamer is about focussed commitment, but it is also about broad-minded tastes and the pleasure offered by new art. “It wasn’t just about the big names for Oom Louis,” says Frank Kilbourn. “He supported artists like David Brown, Norman Catherine, William Kentridge, Malcolm Payne, Michael Pettit, Stanley Pinker and many others. This represented the curious and exploratory side of Die Kunskamer, the verkenning aspect of what it offered. I always experienced a real sense of adventure when I visited Die Kunskamer. It was like a journey of discovery. I got the most joy out of the unusual works on show. Oom Louis didn’t give up on the artists he loved.

The programme for 2022 August Art Month includes a series of walkabouts, public lectures and related social events. 2022 August Art Month will open on Friday 5 August 2022 and closes on Wednesday 31 August. See What’s On  for the full schedule of events.

Press Release
What’s On