Moses Tladi was a realist painter at a time when realism was internationally accepted and admired. This article outlines his life and offers an assessment of his deserved place in Africa’s art history. Tladi first exhibited in 1929 and in 1931 was the first black artist to exhibit in South Africa’s National Gallery. His career flourished until he joined up to serve his country in World War II. In 1956, during the “urban removals” enforced by the Nationalist government’s apartheid policy, Tladi and his family were brutally dispossessed of their freehold property and left homeless. He died brokenhearted in 1959, and his reputation sank into oblivion. Only since the 1990s and the arrival of South Africa’s new democracy has the work of this superbly gifted artist come to light.

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