In 1980 she joined the teaching staff of the Department of Fine Arts and History of Art at the University of Pretoria and was appointed Associate Professor of the Department of Visual Arts in 1999. At the end of 2012 she left the University in order to paint full time. She resides in Pretoria and Bloemfontein and is the curator of one of the largest private art collection in South Africa, at the Ellerman House in Bantry Bay, Cape Town.
Margaret Gradwell has served on several boards at the University and at other institutions. Amongst these are the Arts Advisory Committee of the University of Pretoria, the Pretoria Metro Museum Advisory Committee of City Council of Pretoria and she was the deputy president of SANAVA for two terms. She was the national judge for the 2013 ABSA L’Atelier art competition and exhibited at the Klein Karoo Arts Festival in 2014.
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Her first solo exhibition in 1983 was held in Pretoria and since then she has held several more in various centres across South Africa. She participates in at least four group exhibitions every year.
The work of Margaret Gradwell is represented in most corporate and diplomatic collections in South Africa as well as in many private collections around the globe. Her work is also represented in the art collections of tertiary institutions in South Africa such as the University of Stellenbosch in the Cape Province, UNISA (University of South Africa) Business School in Midrand, Gauteng, the Pretoria Technikon and the University of Pretoria.
Her work is also in the Standard Bank collection, ABSA, Telkom and Sasol collections. In addition, many art museums have her works in their collections, most prominent amongst them being the Pretoria Art Museum, William Humphreys Museum and, abroad, in the National Museum for Women in Art, Washington DC, in the USA. ABSA Bank, commissioned her works for their corporate headquarters in Johannesburg. Margaret is currently the curator for the #1 rated Ellerman House hotel in Cape Town, SA.