Artist of the Month: John Meyer


John Meyer has a very special place in many hearts at Ellerman House, from the admiration of our guests to staff that surround themselves by his works daily. Meyer is a regular visitor to Ellerman House and his works can be seen in the John Meyer Room, named after the artist, the entrance to Ellerman House and Villa One.

John-Meyer---Franschhoek-Farm Franschhoek Farm, John Meyer Room at Ellerman House

Meyer was born in Bloemfontein, Free State and studies at the Johannesburg Technical College School of Art before joining an advertising agency. In 1967, he settled in London where he continued his studies in art while working as a freelance illustrator. He subsequently pursued an international career as an artist and was initially best known for his portraits of distinguished personages in Africa, Europe and the United States.

John-Meyer---At-Ou-KraalAt Ou Kraal, John Meyer Room at Ellerman House

What makes a lot of his landscapes so interesting is that they would not be landscapes, as a visitor to the region knows it. People would often recognise the mountain range in the background but the subjects in the foreground, like buildings and churches, would be from another town or area. This always makes the viewer wonder whether the painting is real or whether their memory might be fading. Meyer has dramatically captured the essence of the terrain of his birth country, from the arid Karoo to the spectacular Drakensberg; from the abandoned wilderness of the coast or the bushveld, to the ordered grandeur of the winelands. Meyer captures the soul and feeling of the land so accurately that the viewer senses the pleasure of the familiar place with wonder.

John-Meyer---Into-the-PassInto the Pass, entrance to Ellerman House

Meyer’s narrative paintings can also be seen at Ellerman House. These paintings are stills capturing sequential narratives of enigmatic figures caught in scenes of emotional ambiguities as seen in the Dining Room and Villa One.