South Africa’s leading contemporary realist artist‚ John Meyer achieved a new record for one of his paintings Waterberg Wanderings that sold for R1.2-million (£60‚000) at a charity auction at Bonhams in London this week.
The money raised will go to Prince William’s charity Tusk which works to save the African elephant and rhino.
“We are delighted that John Meyer has donated a unique‚ never before seen piece in aid of conservation and protection of wildlife‚”CEO of Tusk Charlie Mayhew said.
“At Tusk we work to forge a link between the preservation of Africa’s natural heritage‚ its landscapes and wildlife‚ and the future of its land and people. It is this inextricable relationship‚ between a nation and its land‚ that attracted us to this project and we look forward to the reception.”
Meyer said he was thrilled with the result of the auction. “My wife and I are concerned about the plight of all species under attack, particularly that of the rhino and elephant, a cause near and dear to our hearts. As Tusk says, we simply cannot be the generation to allow the extinction of these magnificent creatures.
“It was therefore my privilege to be able to donate one of my works to such a noble cause. I am absolutely thrilled with the result of the auction. It is a record price for one of my paintings of that size. The whole evening was a great success.”
Prince William himself spoke of his commitment to Tusk and Africa.
“I have been captivated by Africa ever since my first visit as a teenager, to the extent that I now consider it as my second home… I was initially drawn to Tusk by its innovative and holistic approach, and its unwavering certainty that conservation is as much about people and community programmes as it is about wildlife protection,” said the prince.
Bonhams and Investec presented Lost in the Dust; an exhibition celebrating a powerful series of narrative paintings of the Anglo-Boer War by Meyer. This is the first time this collection has exhibited outside of Africa.
The exhibition is unusual in many respects‚ not least for being a vision of war from the perspective of the vanquished; normally the “truth” of war is written and painted by the victors.
Set against the dramatic and hauntingly beautiful backdrop of the South African landscape‚ fifteen works by Meyer offer a personal and compelling look into how war affects individual relationships and captures the raw emotion of the people swept up in it. The paintings weave history‚ imagination and narrative into a multi-layered realm that deals with the tragedy of war.
Francois Pienaar‚ former Springbok captain‚ and an enthusiast of Meyer’s work‚ said‚ “John Meyer captures the truth of the South African landscape as few artists can‚ his images touch me deeply.
“This particular collection of works about the Boer War is powerful. It is a part of our history that remains a source of great sadness‚ but also of pride‚ that as a people we survived. Meyer’s genius is that he captures the suffering of both sides and of the civilians caught in the middle compelling one to think again about our history.”
Giles Peppiatt‚ director of South African art at Bonhams‚ said‚ “John Meyer is without doubt the leading exponent of South African realist art. He takes up where Pierneef leaves off. Meyer’s landscapes are less romantic and bleaker and absolutely capture the vastness of this sun-scorched land. These fifteen paintings are fascinating in that they marry his absolute mastery of landscape with his great theme of the tragedy of war. This exhibition will bring Meyer to the attention of a much wider audience which is what he deserves.”
The exhibition is open to public viewing from Wednesday July 22 to July 30 in London‚ and in Edinburgh from August 11 to August 20.