Known as the jewel of the Free State, Clarens is a charming artists’ town nestled in the foothills of the Maloti Mountains. Visitors flock here to escape from city life and art lovers are able to get their fill of everything creative at the many galleries scattered through the area. Here’s our round-up of some of the best art galleries to visit while in Clarens.
Situated on the town’s bustling village square, this family-run gallery sells a variety of originals and prints, from tranquil landscapes to botanicals. The owners, artists and husband and wife team Simon Addy and Lynne Hoyle, keep it close to home, and their daughter Nella’s work is also sold in the gallery.
Essensual is all about celebrating human nature by exploring the naked form and capturing the essence of sensuality. Pieces are well priced and as such allow newbies to start growing their art collection without breaking the bank.
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The Art and Wine Gallery on Main is the first of its kind in South Africa and combines two of our favourite things: art and wine. Visitors can browse the gallery, which sells works by local artists, while stocking up on some of the best South African wines.
Owner Robert, son of well-known artist Francois Badenhorst, comes from an artistic family and in 2011 decided to open his first gallery. The Robert Badenhorst Gallery is a formal space with loads of art on display. From oil paintings to photography, ceramics and hand-blown glass, the gallery boasts pieces by South African masters including Walter Battiss, Otto Klar and Gregoire Boonzaier. This is where to go in Clarens if you’re serious about art.
The modern Blou Donki (‘blue donkey’) Art Gallery in the Windmill Centre focusses on contemporary works from both established and emerging local artists. The selection of works in different media is large and includes everything from paintings and photography to ceramics and sculptures.
Enslin Vorster’s paintings depict the natural beauty of South Africa, specifically that of the Free State. He’s considered one of the best landscape painters in the country and a visit to his studio gallery will confirm why.
Art works by Anna Carien Goosen | Courtesy of Smudge Contemporary Art Gallery
Elsje Grobbelaar, owner of Smudge Contemporary Art Gallery, is all about edgy and eccentric art, so if that’s your style, you’ve come to the right place. On her website Elsje states that ‘conventional and conservative are not words I would use to describe my art gallery,’ so expect the unexpected when visiting!
Tina De Beer’s style is somewhere in between realism and impressionism, and colour plays an important role in her work. Her passion is unbridled, and she says, ‘I believe that one successfully paints the subjects you’re truly connected to.’ She focusses on botanicals, wildlife, landscapes and seascapes and is happy to take on commissions. Tina’s so passionate about painting that she also offers art classes at her studio.