The Liberman Memorial Door

The Liberman Memorial Door

The fascinating carved wooden door in Cape Town’s National Gallery, The Liberman Memorial Door, offers the viewer not only an intriguing look at the many elements that make up this piece of art, but also an interesting tale regarding the artist who conceived of the
design of the Door.

The Memorial Door pays homage to the first Jewish Mayor of Cape Town, Hyman Liberman (1853-1923), who served as Mayor for three terms in the early 1900s. He bequeathed funds for a public memorial to himself – and so the Memorial Door was born. Carved over a five-year period, the Door was unveiled in March 1934.

The artist, Herbert Vladimir Meyerowitz, Russian-born but educated in England, moved to South Africa as a young man, becoming known for his work as a wood sculptor. He taught for five years at the University of Cape Town, and opened a school of art.

Meyerowitz later returned to England, and in 1945 he found out that his mother, who had remained in Russia, had died during the Siege
of Leningrad. Distraught, he committed suicide.


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