n De Arte - Colonial allegiances circa 1910 : the Engelenburg-Middelberg correspondence in the Johannesburg Art Gallery : research

Volume 2008, Issue 78
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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The correspondence between F.V. Engelenburg and G.A.A. Middelberg, in the archive of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, gives extraordinary insight into the cultural and political dynamics between Johannesburg and Pretoria circa 1910. A detailed examination of the letters reveals the nature of colonial allegiances at a time when the Second South African (Anglo- Boer) War of 1899 to 1902 was still fresh in the nation's psyche, the Union of South Africa was proclaimed, the first national elections were held, and a major public art collection (the Johannesburg Art Gallery) was formed. They give an important insight into a sector of society of that time: the informed elite who transcended racial tensions between English and Afrikaner in the interests of cultural excellence. Accompanying the article is a recent translation of all the letters, written in an early form of Afrikaans that made them largely inaccessible before now.

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