Widely considered as an artist’s hideout, it’s easy to see why so many South African artists choose the town to either settle in or visit to draw inspiration from the town and its surrounds for their next painting piece, novel, or album.
Clarens is blessed with a unique and outstanding landscape surrounded by mountains and scenic beauty rarely seen anywhere else in the country. The tranquil village ambience combined with scenic views and a mild climate have made this town a popular getaway for many people and artists alike. And while the landscapes and scenery is something to behold, it only fits that the galleries within the town match up as well.
Boasting with more than 20 top art galleries, it’s easy to see why Clarens is considered an art haven, not just for artists, but art enthusiasts as well. Visitors to the town can enjoy what is known as the “Art Route” or simply stroll from gallery to gallery to enjoy the wide variety of artwork on offer.
The works art buffs can look forward to enjoying range from prestigious paintings from well-known South African artists to artisan crafts which includes leatherwork, glasswork, handmade weapons and everything in between.
We round up some of the must-visit galleries in town:
Situated in the heart of the picturesque village of Clarens in the Sindmill Centre, you can find the Blou Donki Art Gallery. The Blou Donki Gallery, with its modern, stylish, and trendy ambience, showcases artwork by leading and emerging artists from across South Africa.
The gallery houses a fine collection of paintings, ceramics, functional art, sculptures, and photography. Relax with a cup of coffee on one of their leather sofas and immerse yourself in the world of South African contemporary art…
ESSENSUAL ART GALLERY
Essensual Art Gallery in Clarens is not your typical art gallery – be prepared to step into a sensual world of art where the human form is celebrated in various artworks, styles, and subjects.
The great thing about this gallery is its affordability of beautiful works of art and not just the prestigious works of the most famous. Visitors can expect to find regular exhibitions of artists from all over South Africa. Stop by the gallery when you visit the beautiful village of Clarens, it’s well worth it.
ABOUT ART AND WINE GALLERY ON MAIN
Anton Grobbelaar opened one of the country’s most exciting Art Galleries, the “Art & Wine Gallery on Main” in Clarens. The first and only Art and Wine Gallery in South Africa brings a piece of the Cape all the way to the Free State. Art and Wine lovers get to experience the best of both worlds with the widest range of top-quality wine and unique artwork by established artists at affordable prices. This is certainly a place not-to-be-missed by either wine- or art lovers.
SMUDGE CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY
For something a little out of the ordinary, the Smudge Contemporary Art Gallery in Clarens stores a comprehensive collection that ranges from edgy to downright eccentric. Conventional and conservative are not the words used to describe this art gallery situated in Main Street.
Artists with lots of talent and energy including up-and-coming, emerging or established artists, these are the type of artists whose works you can expect to see at Smudge. Elsje opened the first and only contemporary art gallery in Clarens, with the hope of bringing these artists, as well as patrons and investors of contemporary art, under the same roof.
ADDY & HOYLE ART GALLERY
Situated on the town’s bustling village square, Addy Hoyle is one of Clarens’ founding galleries. This family-run gallery, sells a variety of originals and prints, from tranquil landscapes to botanicals from local and established artists. 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.