Art and architecture in Natal, 1910-1940.
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This thesis is a study of important trends in Natal art of the period 1910-1940, with a section on related architectural developments. In Chapter One Natal's colonial background and continued dependence on Britain for cultural guidance is discussed. The foundation of art galleries and the Natal Society of Artists is followed by an examination of artworks produced until 1917. These were found to be mainly Victorian in character. Reliance on British art and an admiration for and emulation of the Royal Academy of Arts strongly influenced the organisation and development of the Natal Society of Artists. Chapter Two examines the desire, during the 1920s and 1930s, to break away from foreign influence and the conscious attempts to establish a "national" style. This phenomenon is traced through the development of landscape painting in Natal. Chapter Three, Survival versus progress, explores the relationship between the artist and the Natal public, in particular those artists who experimented with what were then held to be avant-garde styles. An uninformed public and, consequently, a pronounced hostility towards modernism bad a profound effect on the careers of many artists. Chapter Four concerns the status of the practising artist in Natal. Amateurs outnumbered professionals at all major exhibitions, and the majority of these amateurs were women. Professionalism and amateurism are defined in the text.) The history of the Durban School of Art and its role in the promotion of professionalism ends this survey on art trends. Architectural development during this period is summarised in Chapter Five with reference to the correspondences between art and architecture. Examples are architectural decoration (especially sculpture and faience), stylistic trends, the response to modernism, and the professional status of the architect. Artists and architects active in Natal during the period are identified and listed. This section includes lists of representative works and detailed references.