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Michaelis, Sir Max


MICHAELIS, SIR MAX (1860–1932), South African mining magnate and philanthropist. Born in Eisfeld, Germany, Michaelis worked in a Frankfurt banking house before immigrating to South Africa in 1876. He settled in Kimberley where he formed a diamond-buying company which was later taken over by De Beers. Michaelis is best known for his interest in and benefactions to art and education. He established scholarships in South Africa and England, including the Jewish War Memorial Scholarship at Oxford. He donated funds to the University of Cape Town for a school of fine arts which was named after him. In 1912 he bought the Hugh Lane collection of Dutch masters, which he presented to the South African nation as the nucleus of the Michaelis Art Gallery in Cape Town. Michaelis contributed to the Johannesburg Art Gallery, City Library, and to hospitals. He was knighted in 1924.


P.H. Emden, Randlords (1935), index. add. bibliography: G. Wheatcroft, The Randlords, 135–36, index.

[Louis Hotz]

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