1975 | Old Netherlands Bank | Pretoria South African

One Man Exhibition

A letter from Marshall P. Baron to Air Marshall Hawkins, Rhodesian Accredited Diplomatic Representative, Pretoria, South Africa, on 7th October, 1975, giving Hawkins background information about himself to enable him to open his Exhibition at the Ned Bank Arts Gallery.

I am very grateful to you for so kindly undertaking to open my Exhibition at the South African Association of Arts Gallery, Old Netherlands Bank, on 3rd November, 1975. I imagine that the time of the opening will be 5.30 p.m. but I shall confirm this.

You asked me to give you some personal background.

As you probably know, my Grandfather, Max Baron, came to this Country in 1898, and just missed being formally regarded as a Pioneer. He had a family of 8 children, all born in Rhodesia, and I am the eldest child of Ben and Rachel Baron, and was also born in Rhodesia.

It might be of interest to Pretoria invitees that my Mother’s father, Max Philip Joffe, was a personal friend of President Kruger, and I believe that there is actually a wreath in the Kruger House sent on President Kruger’s death by my late Grandfather.

I was educated at Milton School, Bulawayo, and at the age of 15 topped the School results in the Cambridge School Certificate Examinations. I thereafter won a Beit Bursary, followed by a Rhodesian Government Bursary, and obtained the degrees of B.A. LL.B. at Cape Town University. I served on the Students Representative Council at the University, including serving on the executive of the Cape Non-Europeans Night Schools Association, and assuming the post for a year of Headmaster of the Association’s Night School at Retreat, Cape. Since leaving University I have practiced law, and have been a partner in this firm since 1960.

In 1964 I made a visit to the U.S.A. and met Ben Shahn, who is regarded as one of the great American painters of this century. He was actually related to us on Dad’s side of the family. He liked my work sufficiently to recommend me for a scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, which is held each year in the summer in Skowhegan, Maine. I spent the summer there in 1966 and again in 1968. This was a wonderful experience as I lived and worked with young American artists and studied with a number of important American painters and sculpture.

I have had numerous Exhibitions, including four one man shows in Johannesburg. My works have been purchased by the National Gallery of Rhodesia for its permanent collection – I think the Gallery has five works in all.

I originally painted in a representational manner. I was particularly entranced with the Cape landscape, where I had done a lot of mountaineering. I now spend quite a lot of time running in the Matopos hills and you may see the outdoor feeling in some of the works which are now all abstract. I started to paint in an abstract idiom before going to the States, as I find the opportunities for expression wider and more challenging.

I do not know whether there is any more I can tell you, but if you should want any further information, I shall be only too happy to supply it.

Thank you once again for your kindness and courtesy.