LEONORA EVERARD-HADEN - A Life in Landscapes


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LEONORA EVERARD-HADEN - A Life in Landscapes
Mar 24 – Apr 23, 2022

Everard Read is thrilled to present a solo exhibition by Leonora Everard-Haden. 

This body of work can be viewed at Everard Read Johannesburg from Thursday 24 March 2022



"What a fitting tribute that I write this on International Womens’ day. The Everard Group has been known historically as a “phenomenon” - both artistically and genetically. What are the chances of inherited artistic excellence being carried down a family line of women for four generations? This family of South African women are, each in their own right, significant artists of repute within their time and now beyond. Their works have long been represented in major corporate and private collections of art in South Africa.

The various members of what became known as the ‘Everard Group’ travelled, largely to Paris, and painted works that were likened to those made by the Bloomsbury Group of artists; they were the international participants of a local art scene, exchanging both ideas and influence from Europe to Africa. The first two generations of the Everard Group were strongly influenced by Victorian art – namely Bertha Everard and her sister Edith King. Both women spent their time here on their various farms: Bonnefoi, Lekkerdraai and Riverlands, all with dominating unaltered landscapes - the personal interpretation of which became the core of their creative endeavours.

I got to know this group of artists and their works whilst I worked with Alan Crump at The Standard Bank Gallery and Corporate Collection in the early nineties. The Standard Bank Gallery hosted a comprehensive exhibition of the group in 2000. This exhibition was beautifully curated and transfixed all visitors. I it certainly was the genesis of my interest in the group ever since. I have visited the various family homes in Pietermaritzburg over an extended period, during which I came to view and become familiar with the family collection.

Bertha King Everard (1873-1965) studied at the Slade & Westminster Schools of Art in London. She and her sister, Edith King were artistically active from the 1920s to the 1960s. Bertha had two daughters, Ruth Everard-Haden and Rosamund Steenkamp. Ruth had a daughter, Leonora Everard-Haden (Leigh), who in turn had two daughters

Nicky and Alana Leigh. All of these remarkable women became extremely fine painters.

The influence of their international exploration is visible in the work that flowed from generation to generation. It also allowed an evolution of artistic style; Bertha was looking at landscapes in Africa and getting under the skin of what African landscapes were, whilst so many of her contemporaries were painting African views in a Eurocentric manner. Bertha stripped away the stiff manner of Victorian ethos, yielding to a hot palette reflecting African temperatures and soil. At her best, Bertha Everard’s paintings are some of the finest landscapes created in South African art history. Bertha’s eminence and fresh vision was carried forward by Ruth, and the succeeding women artists in her family.

Considering the Everard Group’s importance in the development of South African art they have had very few solo exhibitions of their work. it is therefore with great excitement that I write these introductory words to the finest solo exhibition of an Everard Group artist in many years.

Leonora Everard-Haden has pursued a career steeped in her family’s traditions. The history and evolution in style, medium and subject matter over decades can be tracked through the many works displayed in her home. Firmly within the Everard Group’s stylistic parameters and with the same educated brush-marks, Leonora has moved to concentrate on visions of the Drakensberg and Indian Ocean - evocative views where one can almost feel the air moving the vast grasslands, clouds swirling and waves crashing on the beach. This is at the core of this exhibition.

Her palette is gentle, a rich compliment of harmonious colours, subtle moods and shadows within the landscapes, strongly reminiscent of her daughter Nicky’s trees with shadows below. A tribute – backward and forwards from mother to daughter and vice versa – a phenomenon that defies the odds." - MJ Darroll (2021)