Officially opened in 1995, the Edoardo Villa museum is situated in the Old Merensky Library building on the University of Pretoria’s main campus in Hatfield. The museum contains an incredible collection of sculptures by the Italian-South African artist Edoardo Villa.
The museum collection is mostly made up of sculptures which Villa himself donated to the university. Edoardo Villa, was an Italian born artist who came to South Africa as a prisoner of war during World War II. Villa spent several years in a POW camp in Cullinan, east of Pretoria, and once he was finally released after the end of the war, Villa chose to stay and live in South Africa. While some of his works reveal the influences of his European background, Villa was also strongly influenced by African sculptural traditions and with Cecil Skotnes and Sydney Kumalo, he was a member of the Amadlozi group which sought to popularise traditional African sculpture.
The museum collection includes many small sculptures, in particular models which Villa designed while planning large public artworks. On the lawn in front of the museum building you’ll also spot many of his distinctive steel sculptures.