Visitors to the luxury Steenberg Hotel in Cape Town are captivated by the beauty of our estate – the vineyards, the grounds, the interiors, and the views. We are also proud to display an exquisite selection of artworks from Graham and Rhona Beck’s private collection, profiling some of South Africa’s most famous and respected artists.
“When Graham Beck purchased the estate in 2005, he positioned a number of Edoardo Villa sculptures throughout the vineyards and the gardens of our historic estate, as a comparison between the contemporary and historical,” says Julie Meintjies, Art Curator for the Beck Collection. “Next, we displayed the very special Cecil Skotnes collection in the hotel reception and at Catharina’s two years ago.” Skotnes and Villa were both contemporaries, whose works are currently highly collectable, and both have had a significant influence on the history of art making in South Africa.
The Beck family really lived with their art, and would buy only what appealed to them. Their full collection includes work by artists from Europe, the USA, and Africa, and representing historical, modern and contemporary influences, as well as representational and abstract. “They have an amazing way of combining pieces that are in stark contrast, yet perfectly complement one another when together”, says Julie. “An exquisite, collectable Chinese table stands below a European watercolour and alongside an Edoardo Villa sculpture. A modern abstract oil painting is displayed beside tribal African sculptures and Eastern ceramics. A cutting-edge large-scale photograph hangs beside a historic Cape cupboard. Our aim was to pay tribute to the Beck family’s unique way of appreciating and collecting art.”
The works that are found in the sitting room of our stately Manor House create conversation around how people live in contemporary or historical buildings, where they display both furniture and works of art that indicate something about who they are, and what their tastes are. We have juxtaposed historical pieces with, for example, a large David Goldblatt photograph, while making sure that the décor remains in-keeping with the period of the Manor House. Only the Henry Moore and Miro lithographs give visitors that enter the building a hint of the contrast to come in the living rooms of the house.
The Beck family have always been discreet collectors, and most people have very little idea of the scope of their collection. “Our aim is to introduce Steenberg Hotel’s guests to these pieces of excellence,” comments Julie. “Over time, we hope to display even more of Graham and Rhona’s phenomenal collection, and we trust that you will enjoy them as much as we do!”