1978 | Bulawayo Art Gallery | Bulawayo Rhodesia

Retrospective Exhibition
82 Paintings

Newspaper Article: “Tribute to Bulawayo’s man of art and music”, Sunday News Reporter, The Chronicle, Bulawayo, unknown date, 1978, in respect of a retrospective exhibition of paintings by Bulawayo artist, music lover and lawyer Mr. Marshall Baron.
A Retrospective exhibition of paintings by Bulawayo artist, music lover and lawyer Mr Marshall Baron will open at the Bulawayo Art Gallery on Thursday.

The exhibition, which is being held a year after his death, will run for three weeks, after which some of the paintings will to Salisbury for show.

Organised by the Keeper of the Gallery, Mrs. Jean Danks, and Mr. Baron’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Baron of Bulawayo, it will feature 82 works painted between 1962 and 1977.

“It promises to be one of the most exciting and most colourful exhibitions we’ve ever held. All the paintings will be arranged chronologically to illustrate his progression and his use of various media,” Mrs. Danks said last week.

“His work shows a strong feeling for colour, texture and tonal ranges and has an organic feel rather than a geometric one. Much of it is two dimensional and displays his truly magnanimous nature and heroic spirit.

The exhibition is a tribute to a man who had considerable influence on art in his country.

“His death left a big gap in the local art scene. We live in an isolated situation but through his trips abroad he helped to keep us in contact with the outside trends. You felt excited after talking to him and wanted to paint”, said Danks.

Marshall Baron started painting at the age of 11 when most of his paintings showed scenes from the Cape.

He started painting at the age of 11 when most of his paintings showed scenes from the Cape.

He studied art briefly while he was a pupil at Milton High School but his knowledge came from galleries of the world.

“On his frequent overseas trips, Marshall spent a great deal of time in art galleries and museums and was a member of the Modern Art Gallery of New York, said his mother Mrs. Rachel Baron.

“He liked to keep up to date with worldwide trends by subscribing to various magazines and reading widely on the subject. His travels, his reading, his humanitarianism and disrespect for the old fashioned ones are all reflected in his paintings.”

While taking a degree in law at the University of Cape Town, the form of his paintings changed and he cultivated an impressionist style. But this soon gave way to the abstract forms which he continued to paint until his death.

Mrs. Baron said her son had been greatly influenced at the annual Young Artists School at Skowhegan in Manine, America where had worked under the world renowned artist, Ben Shahn.

“He was inspired by the abstract expression he saw and influenced by the School his paintings became more abstract – a reflection of 20th century trends and thoughts. He started working on huge canvases which gave vent to his inner feelings”.

“When he first started showing his abstract work in this country he received much criticism and ridicule from people who were ignorant of what was going on in the outside world but after exhibitions in Rhodesia and South Africa he was gradually recognized,” Mrs. Baron said.

Marshall Baron’s love of music was indivisible from his creativity with a brush.

“Classical music inspired him. He always worked with his hi-fi on and out of the music came a picture,” said Mrs. Baron.

“This is reflected in his paintings by the sweeps of movement like the flow of harmony and rhythm in a classical piece. He never painted without music and he never signed his canvasses.”

Jean Danks, Keeper, Bulawayo Art Gallery, Foreword, in the catalogue of The Marshall Baron Retrospective Exhibition, Bulawayo Art Gallery, 25th May – 11th June, 1978
Marshall Baron’s death on the 3rd May, 1977, left a gap in the art world which will be difficult to fill. Sectors of business, public and cultural life are affected by this loss of an humanitarian personality who made a great contribution through his depth of knowledge and sense of dedication.

The art world was particularly affected as Marshall was a personal friend to many artists and, in his capacity as a committee member of the Rhodesian Society of Artists, and Chairman during 1976, he gave encouragement to a great number, as well as aiming for a high standard in art. He traveled extensively in Europe and America and was able to pass on information regarding the latest approaches which proved invaluable to Rhodesian artists who suffer from a sense of isolation.

Ben Shahn, the well known American artist, was first cousin to Marshall’s father, Ben Baron, and he gave Marshall a scholarship on three occasions to the Annual Young Artists’ School at Skowhegan, Maine, where he received inspiration for his large, abstract canvasses.

In his painting, he combined a sensitive awareness of formal conventions, particularly color, form and texture in two dimensional composition. He used a smaller format to concentrate his image and convey an essence combining lyrical, spontaneous forms with an intellectual consideration, and we see his attachment to his Jewish background and his particular concern with music in many of his paintings.

Marshall Baron was born on the 3rd August, 1934. He showed an early interest in art and music. He attended Milton Senior School and obtained a Beit Scholarship to Capte Town where he graduated with a B.A. LL.B. He became a successful lawyer but always dedicated his spare time to art and music.

We would like to thanks his mother, Mrs. Rachel Baron, for kindly making available Marshall’s paintings and for all her help in preparing this Exhibition. Collections of his work have been sent to his sisters, Merle in Israel, Saone in Washington and Beverly in Johannesburg.

This Exhibition demonstrates Marshall’s development from 1962 until his death in 1977 and his work will be greatly missed on future exhibitions.

Marshall Baron’s love of music was indivisible from his creativity and brush. “Classical music inspired him. He always worked with his hi-fi on and out of the music came a picture” said Mrs. Baron. “This is reflected in his paintings by the sweeps of movement like the flow of harmony and rhythm in a classical piece. He never painted without music and he never signed his canvases”.

Opening Address by Basil Kaufman at the Marshall Baron Retrospective Exhibition, Bulawayo Art Gallery 25th May to 11th June, 1978
In August 1976 I addressed a similar gathering in the Bulawayo Art Gallery. The occasion was the preview of the Living Art Exhibition and Marshall Baron had been invited to open the Exhibition. As a member of the Committee of the Gallery I was asked to introduce him. I did so briefly and quite naturally said that he required little introduction to any Bulawayo audience and particularly an audience concerned with the visual arts. Little did I realise that a short while afterwards I would be so forcibly reminded of my concluding remark, for I said, after talking briefly of his brilliant .life and varied activities that “Bulawayo would never be quite the same place without him”.

Those of you who were here on that occasion will no doubt recall that he gave an address remarkable for its clarity, forcefulness and humour. His penetrating remarks illustrated his wide ranging knowledge of the subject. Listening to him I remember so well being struck by his magnetic manner and the skillful way in which he discoursed on the theme of his address. This was typical of’ the man for whatever he undertook was done with great thoroughness and enormous enthusiasm.

His career is well known to many of us but I think nevertheless it is appropriate to refer to the highlights.

Born in Bulawayo in 1934 he was educated here at Milton School and achieved great academic distinction at an early age, including the award of a Beit Scholarship and a Southern Rhodesian Government scholarship. After graduating at Cape Town University where, amongst other distinctions he was President of the National Union of South African Students, he returned to Bulawayo to pursue a career as a lawyer and this was to be his home for the remainder of his life. He achieved marked success in his chosen profession and gained an enviable reputation in it.

At the tender age of eleven there first appeared the signs of the talent which was to be the dominant influence in his life. His small paintings of Cape scenes attracted the attention of the Art Master at Milton School, John Avery, also very well known to an older generation of Rhodesians as a teacher and an artist of great distinction in his own right. Increasingly through the years at school and university his talent flourished, although painting at this stage of his life was still a hobby.

On his return to Bulawayo he had more opportunity for devoting himself to painting. He was fortunate in being able to travel frequently overseas and visit art centres in Europe and America. His style of painting underwent several changes and the contact with the outside world added stimulus to these changes until the abstract forms which are seen in this exhibition dominated his work.

At an even earlier age than the start of his interest in painting he became interested in music. Almost as much as painting, music became a dominant force in his life. His knowledge and appreciation of classical music was encyclopaedic and profound and his impact on the musical life of this city was incalculable. His regular critiques in the Chronicle on concerts and on the performances of visiting musicians of international repute would have graced the pages of leading newspapers in thc major cities of the world and were literary masterpieces in their own right. .

I have spoken only briefly of his talent in the artistic f’ield for there are many of you here better able than I to judge the quality of his work. It is not easy to convey in words the many other facets which went to make up the character of this remarkable young man. He had a deep and abiding interest in those less fortunate than himself.

He particularly devoted himself to assisting the under privileged of all communities and especially the Coloured and African communities and he was a fearless opponent, and well known to be, of oppression and injustice. In so much of what he said and did one was aware of his great compassion and wisdom perhaps beyond his years and yet all of this was pervaded by a delightful sense of humour. His work certainly drew strength from these many and varied attributes.

And so we come to this Exhibition. This is the first occasion on which there has been a retrospective exhibition in the Gallery by a Rhodesian born and bred. The only other retrospective exhibition contained work by a Rhodesian artist who was born in England although he has lived most of his adult life in this country and his work was mostly executed in this country. I refer to Robert Paul. On this occasion we have work of an entirely different nature. Robert Paul the traditionalist, whereas this exhibition contains the work of someone trying to open new boundaries and reflect what he sees beyond. I believe Marshall Baron’s work to be of significant value in this context. The exhibition features some 82 paintings executed in abstract style between 1962 and 1977 and represents a relatively small but balanced part of the work which Marshall created during this period of intense painting activity. One is left slightly breathless by the sheer volume of energy which he poured into his work and this is noticeable particularly in the larger canvases. They invariably remind me of the background of classical music which was so much a part of his life as a painter. We have hitherto been accustomed to seeing two or three of his paintings at most exhibitions by local artists. The opportunity to view such a large and representative selection of work by one artist at one time adds to the fascination of the exhibition and creates an awareness of how his talent burgeoned over the years.

I believe this exhibition to be a milestone in the young life of the Bulawayo Gallery and I commend the Committee for arranging it.

The exhibition is a small tribute to a young Rhodesian blessed with rare and singular talents in so many fields. He will be remembered long after this exhibition as a man who lavished without restraint these talents on the city he loved so well and “‘Bulawayo will indeed never be quite the same place without him”.

The Committee of the Bulawayo Art Gallery and the art loving section of the, population of Bulawayo are deeply indebted to Mr. and Mrs Baron for making available to us the paintings which we see here tonight. As always it is a great pleasure to pay tribute to Mrs. Danks and her band of willing helpers for mounting this exhibition in such an expert manner.

I have been asked to say that the Baron family and some friends wish to perpetuate his memory and have decided that they would like to endow a gallery within a new Art Gallery complex, which is planned, to be known as the Marshall Baron Gallery. Anyone who wishes to be associated with this fund is asked to communicate with Mrs. Danks or a Gallery official.

I now have much pleasure in declaring open this retrospective exhibition of paintings by Marshal1 Baron.

Newspaper Article: “Tribute to Bulawayo’s man of art and music”, Sunday News Reporter, The Chronicle, Bulawayo, unknown date, 1978, in respect of a retrospective exhibition of paintings by Bulawayo artist, music lover and lawyer Mr. Marshall Baron.

A Retrospective exhibition of paintings by Bulawayo artist, music lover and lawyer Mr Marshall Baron will open at the Bulawayo Art Gallery on Thursday.

The exhibition, which is being held a year after his death, will run for three weeks, after which some of the paintings will to Salisbury for show.

Organised by the Keeper of the Gallery, Mrs. Jean Danks, and Mr. Baron’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Baron of Bulawayo, it will feature 82 works painted between 1962 and 1977.

“It promises to be one of the most exciting and most colourful exhibitions we’ve ever held. All the paintings will be arranged chronologically to illustrate his progression and his use of various media,” Mrs. Danks said last week.

“His work shows a strong feeling for colour, texture and tonal ranges and has an organic feel rather than a geometric one. Much of it is two dimensional and displays his truly magnanimous nature and heroic spirit.

The exhibition is a tribute to a man who had considerable influence on art in his country.

“His death left a big gap in the local art scene. We live in an isolated situation but through his trips abroad he helped to keep us in contact with the outside trends. You felt excited after talking to him and wanted to paint”, said Danks.

Marshall Baron started painting at the age of 11 when most of his paintings showed scenes from the Cape.

He started painting at the age of 11 when most of his paintings showed scenes from the Cape.

He studied art briefly while he was a pupil at Milton High School but his knowledge came from galleries of the world.

“On his frequent overseas trips, Marshall spent a great deal of time in art galleries and museums and was a member of the Modern Art Gallery of New York, said his mother Mrs. Rachel Baron.

“He liked to keep up to date with worldwide trends by subscribing to various magazines and reading widely on the subject. His travels, his reading, his humanitarianism and disrespect for the old fashioned ones are all reflected in his paintings.”

While taking a degree in law at the University of Cape Town, the form of his paintings changed and he cultivated an impressionist style. But this soon gave way to the abstract forms which he continued to paint until his death.

Mrs. Baron said her son had been greatly influenced at the annual Young Artists School at Skowhegan in Manine, America where had worked under the world renowned artist, Ben Shahn.

“He was inspired by the abstract expression he saw and influenced by the School his paintings became more abstract – a reflection of 20th century trends and thoughts. He started working on huge canvases which gave vent to his inner feelings”.

“When he first started showing his abstract work in this country he received much criticism and ridicule from people who were ignorant of what was going on in the outside world but after exhibitions in Rhodesia and South Africa he was gradually recognized,” Mrs. Baron said.

Marshall Baron’s love of music was indivisible from his creativity with a brush.

“Classical music inspired him. He always worked with his hi-fi on and out of the music came a picture,” said Mrs. Baron.

“This is reflected in his paintings by the sweeps of movement like the flow of harmony and rhythm in a classical piece. He never painted without music and he never signed his canvasses.”

The invitation of the exhibition