Wilhelm van Rensburg
Head Curator & Senior Art Specialist
Wilhelm van Rensburg (b.1958, Johannesburg) is a prolific champion of art whose output marries scholarly research and critical writing with curating. He has organised important exhibitions for Irma Stern, Judith Mason, JH Pierneef and, most recently, Christo Coetzee.
After completing his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Johannesburg in 1981, Wilhelm began teaching at high school, later moving to lecturing at universities and furthering his studies in education. He was a senior lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Johannesburg (2001–09), and has been a part-time lecturer in the Faculty of Art Design & Architecture at the same institution since 2010. Early on, though, Wilhelm decided to complement his academic career in education with writing, curating and dealing. He was the chief art critic for Beeld newspaper (1993–2003) and continues to write extensively about art. He is completing a biography of Walter Battiss. Wilhelm was co-director of Gallery Art on Paper (2006–16), an independent-minded gallery that presented shows by important historical and contemporary artists.
Wilhelm has a long-standing relationship with Standard Bank Gallery, for whom he has organised major survey exhibitions for Irma Stern (2003), Judith Mason (2009), JH Pierneef (2015) and Christo Coetzee (2018), as well as curated the educational programme for the exhibition ‘Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning’ (2016). He has played a key role in Strauss & Co’s client outreach, notably with his curated exhibitions at the Turbine Art Fair. ‘Life Force: The Still Lifes of Irma Stern’ (2018) was the first major survey of Stern’s enigmatic still lifes, while ‘Pierneef: A Collector’s Passion’ (2017) showcased the remarkable Pierneef holdings of collector Anton Taljaard. These projects contributed to Strauss & Co receiving the 2018 Chairman’s Premier Award from Business and Arts South Africa.
Wilhelm joined Strauss & Co as an Art Specialist in 2016. He works out of our Johannesburg office. Wilhelm is qualified to address any enquiries related to Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture and New Media on behalf of Strauss & Co.