le quartier français

Catching up with Ilse Schermers

Ilse Schermers, of is art at Le Quartier Français supplied and curated the art work for Vergelegen’s restaurants, Stables and Camphor’s— and now the wine estate has been recognised as the South African winner of the Great Wine Capitals (GWC) Best of Wine Tourism Awards!

We caught up with Ilse to chat about her unique approach.

Ilse and her two children enjoying a relaxed moment

Ilse and her two children enjoying a relaxed moment

Can you tell me a bit about each space?
The Stables is set in the old stables of the farm and is designed as an up-market family restaurant. The interior is bright and light yet tasteful. A number of things came to mind when I selected the art for both restaurants, such as the heritage of the farm, the magnificent gardens and the activity currently on the estate. For example, because of the famous gardens we wanted to show botanicals and for this reason I chose alternative botanical tapestries by the Keiskamma group.


Additionally, as the space was formerly the estate’s stables I chose ceramic horse heads for the walls by Nicolene Swanepoel and a large driftwood horse as a focal point by Francois Marais.

Vergelegen is also known for its Nguni stud, so for this we chose ox heads by Nicolene Swanepoel and a large painting by Gregory Kerr. Works by Jacqueline Crewe-Brown, Strijdom van den Merwe and various ceramic works by Helen Vaughan, Clementina van der Walt and Ralph Johnson are also on display.

Camphors restaurant at Vergelegen - Long room

The palette at Camphor’s is much more formal and rich.  I selected works by some of our more important contemporary artist like William Kentridge, Willem Strydom, Henry Symonds, Marlene von Durkheim, Shany van den Berg and Lyndi Sales. Helen Vaughan made wall plates based on the blue and white Kraakporcelain seen in the Manor House next to Camphor’s.  Michael Chandler made mirrors and spittoons also reflective of the VOC.  In both restaurants, we selected works by South African living artists.

When approaching a space to populate with art – what are the things that you consider, how do you decide on your final selections?
My opinion is that one should always be able to read a project as a complete story. The art should reflect the integrity of the space, the mood, the history, the menu, and so on. I want to be well informed of everything relevant to the space.  However it is the person in charge of the project, in this case the MD of Vergelegen, Don Tooth, who has the final say.

Who is your favourite SA artist, or artists and why?
Sjoe, difficult to say. I have many favourites, but I am constantly inspired by what our artists produce and how much new talent emerges every year.

Do you have advice for people who want to start collecting art – how do you begin, and what do you need to know?
Make informed decisions.  Buy what you love. Buy the best you can afford.

The most exciting piece at is art at the moment is….
A bronze snake by Sarel Petrus on his exhibition with Rina Stuzer titled ‘Pegged Down/Vaspen’.

What exhibitions do we have to look forward to next year?
We have a full year planned for 2014 with exhibitions by Bruce Attwood (furniture), Fiona Rowett and Ralph Johnson, sculpture by Kobus la Grange and Guy du Toit, and one of our favourite artists of Franschhoek:  Jacqueline Crewe Brown.  We also take part in the Art of Clay Festival as well as the Literary Festival each year.

Your favourite cocktail at the LQF bar is
The mojito!

In 2010 Ilse opened her latest gallery at Le Quartier Français   The exhibitions of contemporary South Africa artists change every six to eight weeks . The gallery spills out into the sculpture and herb garden, designed by Guy du Toit and Angus Taylor and filled with herbs for  Margot Janse’s  kitchens at Le Quartier Français.  The sculptures have become an integral part of the restaurant and hotel gardens.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Franschhoek, Is Art, Is Art @ Le Quartier Français,
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Is Art: An exhibition of painting and sculpture by Rina Stutzer and Sarel Petrus

“VASPEN” (oor tent penne, ink penne en als wat die vlietende probeer vaspen) also loosely translated as… “PEG DOWN” (about tent pegs, ink pens and everything that attempts to pin down the transitory)

VASPEN will run from 3 November – 3 December 2013 at is art in Franschhoek, adjacent to Le Quartier Français

This two person exhibition by Sarel Petrus and Rina Stutzer, presents metaphor and material that visually questions the permanence of “things”.

Both artists’ work with the “nomadic” as an approach to art-making, as well as a theme. The “nomadic” way allows for the search of meaning and truth. These motifs imply a sense of curiosity, adventure, exploration and research – which is integral to our being, as South Africans.

Exhibition - Nov 2013 - Peg Down

For Petrus’s bronze sculptures he harvests naturally found organic material – such as bone, wood and stone, imprinted by recordings – as a means of capturing fleeting poetic thoughts… in the same way that love letters capture a longing for that which is unattainable. Petrus’s sculptural vocabulary and poetic muse is significantly informed by field excursions in the ‘veld’.

Stutzer investigates both sculptural form and painting. In her recent works, she explores painting with acid on cast bronze canvas and copper plate, as an ever-changing image. These images are presented alongside digital prints of the painting at the time of “official completion” (from when they are no longer actively worked on, but after which time the patina and oxidization continues to alter the image). The motifs of nomadic dwellings within a natural milieu – for example the tent, caravan and pumpkin hut – are also inherent of the idea of temporal settlement and resettlement. Additionally, works on paper and oil on canvas will form part of her focus on the “nomadic”.

Event: PEG DOWN | VASPEN – An exhibition of Painting & Sculpture
Venue: is art at Le Quartier Français
Address: 16 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek
Date: 3 November – 3 December 2013
Gallery Hours: Weekdays 09h00-17h00 & Weekends 10h00-17h00
Enquiries: Ilse or Alisha – gallery@lqf.co.za / 021 876 8443

Enquiries: Ilse or Alisha – gallery@lqf.co.za / 021 876 8443

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Art, Is Art, Is Art @ Le Quartier Français,
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Ingrid Winterbach at is art!

Are you coming to the Franschhoek Literary Festival? Then make sure to indulge your arty side too. Ingrid Winterbach will be displaying a selection of her paintings on 18 May 2013 at is art. Plus  that artist will also be in attendance and will have a conversation with Lisa van Robbroeck at 2:30pm.

ingrid (2)

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Franschhoek Literary Festival, Is Art @ Le Quartier Français,
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Tea with Judy Bumstead

Judy Bumstead is an artist living in Calitzdorp. ” I came here searching for a greener lifestyle with less concrete and fewer motorcars. The people of the Little Karoo and the natural beauty of the area inspire my work.”

Her current work is on display in is art. Here’s a sneak peek of ‘Tea with Gauguin’.

JBC042  Tea with Gauguin 26x25

Tea with Gauguin

Tea with Gauguin

searching for a greener lifestyle with less concrete and fewer motorcars.
The people of the Little Karoo and the natural beauty of the area inspire my work.
Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Is Art @ Le Quartier Français,
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Kobus la Grange at is art

Kobus la Grange is a young, and very talented artist from Cape Town. How moving and evocative are his wood sculptures? Unreal. We’re pretty sure he could make Pinocchio a real boy too!

2012-11-17 14.04.02

2012-11-17 14.04.24

2012-11-17 14.19.14See the sculptures at is art.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Is Art @ Le Quartier Français,


Eat with your eyes

The Cape Craft & Design Institute’s (CCDI) Handmade Collection 2012 is on display in our restaurant – a collection of the best handmade products from the Western Cape. The beautiful works range from ceramics and textiles to glassware and upcycled materials. From 264 entries the judging panel decided on 70 final, outstanding objects.


CCDI chairperson Bart Verveckken said this: ““The panel has always been looking for products that are not only very well made, but have a strong visual or conceptual appeal; objects with a wow factor.”


Come see for yourself, and feel free to browse with a glass of bubbly in-hand.

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Stocking Stuffers for the Artist Within

is art – our in-house gallery – showcases an excellent selection of local South African art. For Christmas we’ve asked our resident art guru to put together her top three gifts.

The Bargain - The best art deal this side of the equator … Nicolene Swanepoel’s Ceramic Oxen. R1 300 each.

The Great Deal – This piece is will impress without you having to mortgage the house … Kobus la Grange’s Carved Sculptures. Starting at R 7 000.

The Investment Piece – This work is sure to create all kinds of art-envy in your friendship circles. Consider yourself warned … Angus Taylor’s bronze Grounded and BoundedR56 000.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Is Art @ Le Quartier Français, Le Quartier Français,
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Bye Bye Bunny

This week we bid a sad farewell to our Common Room Bunny. *sob*

Bunny, our beautiful boy, has found the perfect home in the UK and we couldn’t be happier for him and his new family.

Our dearest Bunny we want to thank you for being such a fabulous and supportive member of the Le Quartier Français team. We know that you’re going to love your new family, new home and new friends. We will miss you Bunny!

P.S. Don’t be a stranger. Please send us the occasional postcard, letter or little SMS.



New IS Art exhibition

The latest exhibition set to launch at is art is a two-artist exhibition. The featured artists – Franschhoek painter Jacqueline Crewe-Brown and Pretoria based sculptor Angus Taylor – will have their work showcased from Sunday the 20th of February till the 22nd of March.

This exhibition opens at is art at 11h00 (on Sunday the 20th of February 2011). Please contact Ilse or Alisha for a preview on 021 876 8334.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Is Art @ Le Quartier Français,
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Art … The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Still struggling to find that someone special that something special? Looking for a gift to impress? Why not visit the is art gallery and pick up something sensational this Christmas. No one you love that much? Well then spoil yourself … nothing says ‘I care’ quite like a gift from you to you.

Show yourself the love this Christmas with a spectacular piece of art – or a sculpture – from is art.

Posted by: Le Quaf
Posted in: Is Art @ Le Quartier Français,
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