Art galleries


I find art galleries a bit intimidating because I have plebeian tastes and no money. Unlike my friend Caroline, who also has no money but knows art and has no fear of playing the serious buyer (together, we’ve pretended to be serious buyers of all sorts of things from precious art to luxury homes, but that’s another story).

Recently the painting above caught my client’s eye. I screeched to a stop on the main drag in Franschhoek and the haggling began.  I suggested the gallery pass my commission on to the client (I’m nice that way) but the snooty gallery assistant with a fake poncy accent was having none of that because apparently I need to register with the gallery in advance, which I hadn’t done since I don’t generally plan on shopping with clients. Regardless of my client’s obvious wealth, the snooty one managed to talk down to everyone as if we were a bunch of bergies asking for a hand-out. He was eating cold pizza but the gallery is just opposite a restaurant that’s just  been voted the best in Africa. Just saying.

Once my client had concluded the deal (R36k including shipping) we were then told to stop trying to take photos of the painting. My client pointed out that the painting was now HERS and she could do what she wanted with it. While they were arguing I took the photo – cell phones are sneakier than fancy cameras with foot-long lenses.

My client then tasked me with ensuring the painting arrives in New York. Yikes. I did and it did.

The photo below, however, is of a pencil drawing I fell in love with at an art exhibition, also in Franschhoek, at the lovely Grande Provence Estate. Weeks later I was in Stellenbosch and spotted the gallery where this artist’s work is displayed. My heart stopped and I entered. This time it was a vastly different experience. The artist’s son, whose lovely jewellery is also displayed there, was manning the gallery and a nicer man you couldn’t hope to meet.  I didn’t get his name, shame on me; there was a time I would have got his phone number, too.

The artist is Greg Lourens and you can see his work here.

This one sells for a bit more than the top one but they have prints of the art, so I bought one for a whole R30.


Disclaimer: my photo of the above pencil drawing has too many reflections to do it justice so I’ve used this one from the website.

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

2 responses to “Art galleries

  1. Painting bought, sent, received. I believe that you should now out the laarnie gallery.

    • I was tempted but decided not to because I think it applies to many art galleries. This one is quite prominent and I may well have to go back if clients ask, so … for once I’ll keep a low profile and not soek too much.

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A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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