Fiche Structure
Arts plastiques Histoire/société Interculturel/Migrations Patrimoine
National Gallery of Zimbabwe
Statut : Association, ASBL
Adresse : 20 Julius Nyerere Way/ ParklaneP.O.Box CY 848, Causeway Harare
Pays concerné : Zimbabwe
Téléphone(s) : +263 – 4 – 704 666 / 7
Fax : +263 – 4 – 704668




The National Gallery of Zimbabwe has been in existence for more than 50 years, and in its lifetime has witnessed the dramatic shift in the country from colonialism to independence. In addition, it has been central to the meteoric rise of Zimbabwean artists in the world art market. The gallery was initially planned in the 1930s, but the outbreak of the Second World War impeded the colonial government's involvement in its progress. However, the idea was given new life when in 1943, Sir James McDonald, a friend and colleague of Cecil John Rhodes, left a bequest of 30,000 "in trust for the people of the colony" to establish an art gallery and art museum in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. At the end of 1952, the inaugural board of the gallery was established, chaired by the Governor of Southern Rhodesia. The passing of the National Gallery Act of Parliament in early 1953 saw the dissolution of the inaugural board and the establishment of the board of trustees. Major (later Sir) Stephen Courtauld presided as chairman of the board until 1962. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the gallery right from its inception, and remained so even after his departure from the board, when he and his wife became the first patrons of the gallery. From the outset, the gallery was conceived as a national institution, acting as the artistic representative not only for Southern Rhodesia, but also Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, governed from 1953 to 1963 as a united federation. Salisbury City Council agreed to take full responsibility for overseeing the building, establishment and administration of the gallery, and the mayor of Salisbury was made a fixed appointee to the board of trustees. The first responsibilities of the board were: to establish funds for the building; to select the building design and to appoint a director. The second responsibilities were: to establish funds for the running and administration costs of the gallery, and to make provision for an endowment fund for the acquisition of a permanent collection. At that time, the building funds consisted only of the McDonald bequest, and a further 150,000 had yet to be raised. It was decided that an appeal should be launched among local businesses in support of building a gallery in Southern Rhodesia. "In all great countries of the world art galleries have their place in the cultural life of the community, and it is the firm belief of the Trustees that a National Art Gallery is essential to the progress of the people of this land," stated Sir Stephen Courtauld in the annual report of 1954, giving voice to the board's support of the establishment of the gallery.