The WHAG permanent collection consists of donations, bequests and purchases. The artworks range from Old Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 16th century, old British and French paintings, to contemporary South African art, which include categories like sculpture, paintings, works on paper, ceramics, and beaded items.  

Works from the permanent collection are rotated regularly to showcase the large number of artworks in our storerooms. 
The following donations and bequests form part of our permanent collection: The Athenaeum Collection; Dr Max Greenberg Bequest; Laura Rautenbach Bequest; Lawson Collection; Meyer Collection, Timlin collection and the WB Humphreys Bequest.  

Since 2001 the WHAG started acquiring works of art from contemporary black artists, to start filling the gap in the collection from the past. 

Humphreys collection on loan from Be Beers
Timlin collection of loan from De Beers
Athenaeum Collection 

The first organisation founded in Kimberley with the promotion of cultural activity as its objective was the Kimberley Athenaeum which was established in 1903 under the presidency of the Mayor. Although the society which operated with fluctuating success until 1911 after which it proceeded to grow from strength to strength, embraced amongst others debating, music and dramatic societies, no provision was made for those members of the community interested in fine art. It was not until 1914 that William Timlin initiated the establishment of an Art Section. Despite the setback which the Athenaeum in general suffered as a result of the outbreak of the First World War, the Art Section continued to arrange art exhibitions and for the duration of the War raised funds for war purposes. The effect of the war and the ‘flu’ epidemic of 1918 on the Athenaeum was devastating and to its credit only the Art Section survived but with severely diminished membership. It was then resolved that the Art Section should in future devote its efforts to acquiring South African works of art with a view to forming a nucleus of an art gallery and that these works of art ultimately be handed to the citizens of Kimberley in memory of those members of the Athenaeum who had lost their lives in the war.  

This collection was duly handed to the Kimberley City Council to hold in trust for the citizens of Kimberley in 1942. Later the Athenaeum Collection was to be given a permanent home in the William Humphreys Art Gallery when it was opened in December 1952.  
Norma Guassardo Bequest (ceramics) 

Norma and Michael Guassardo often visited Kimberley where they spent many happy days with family and friends. Years ago, the couple gave a glaze and decorating workshop at the gallery. later in their lives they discussed moving into a smaller manageable home, and some of their possessions had to go. As they had one or two notable and large pieces in their ceramic collection, Norma thought they should be donated to the gallery. Her premature death prompted Michael to expedite her wishes. The “collection” is a reflection of the type of work she loved and admired. These few pieces not only gave her much happiness but also, in their own quiet way, challenged her creative instincts. A few more pieces of Norma’s work were added as a retrospective.  

Norma was born in Johannesburg in 1937 where she completed her formative schooling and college education cum laude. She became interested in pottery a little more than a dozen years ago, and rapidly became known as one of South Africa’s leading glaze exponents. Her knowledge of chemistry and glaze chemistry in particular was all self-taught. For the next ten years, Norma produced nearly 1000 glazes and she gave generously of her time and knowledge to all.  

Norma was a selector for Natal in the Association of Potters of Southern Africa National Exhibition in 1988 and was asked to be an assessor of the Natal Expo ’93, but unfortunately, it was at this time she became ill. She was a guest exhibitor in every region of South Africa and twice in Natal. Her work is in many private collections as well as in permanent collections of the Durban Art Gallery (KZN) William Humphreys Art Gallerym (NC) and the King George VI Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth (EC).
Norma was given two months to live. She nevertheless fought cancer with hope, courage and dignity. She threw her last pots in February 1995, including some new designs, again in her quest to innovate and forge ahead. She died quite unexpectedly six weeks later.  
Meyer Collection 

Nicolaas Meyer was born in the Volksrust District, Transvaal, South Africa in 1904. He spent his early childhood years on a farm where he helped with the herding of cattle and tending to the fields. He grew up in a very religious and conservative family where the Dutch Reformed Church was the anchor of life.  

Meyer attended Witwatersrand University and successfully completed three qualifications. He joined the Civil Service in 1927 and was posted to the Native Affairs Department in Johannesburg. In 1938 he was transferred on promotion to the department of Social Welfare to take up the appointment of Manager of Native Affairs with the Municipality of Germiston. In 1947 he joined the Kimberley City Council as Manger of Native Affairs where he remained until he retired in 1969 as Director of Bantu Administration and Development. 

In 1935 he married Lydia Joyce Freezer. Over the years they were vitally interested in African art and antiques, and built up a wonderful collection of Africana and porcelain, Cape Silver, copper and brass. The entire “Meyer Collection” was bequeathed to the William Humphreys Art Gallery in 1989, and it has been permanently on display in the “Meyer Wing”.  
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