Walter Meyer 'painted the demise of Afrikaner nationalism' – sociologist

2017-12-29 20:42
Walter Meyer (waltermeyer.co.za)

Walter Meyer (waltermeyer.co.za)

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Cape Town – Artist Walter Meyer will be remembered for painting the demise of the Afrikaner nationalism, a sociology professor and artist said on Friday. 

"Where [Jacobus] Pierneef painted the rise of Afrikaner nationalism, Walter painted the demise of it," Professor Andries Bezuidenhout told News24, quoting acclaimed historian Liese Van Der Watt.

"Where Pierneef's paintings were idealistic, capturing landscapes in pristine condition, Walter painted landscapes as we see it: paint peeling from walls and dilapidated farm buildings."

Meyer was found dead last Friday in his home in Upington. His wife, 29-year-old Sophia Meyer, was arrested for his murder. 

She appeared in the Upington Magistrate’s Court for the second time on Friday morning where her case was postponed to January 5 for a formal bail application, Netwerk24 reported. 

Bezuidenhout, an artist himself, said he didn’t know Walter personally but met him on several occasions. 

"He (Walter) was a shy person. He despised the spotlight – it was one of his more attractive characteristics."

During the opening of an exhibition of Meyer's work in Bloemfontein in 2010, Bezuidenhout described Meyer's work as "unconventional" in opposition to the "romantic tradition of landscape". 

Using Meyer's painting of Table Mountain as an example, Bezuidenhout said: "Meyer paints the colossus as seen over the cusp of Signal Hill, with Duiwelspiek and Leeukop not even within view; almost like a tourist giving the landmark a last glance before departing for the airport."

Intimate suffering

Bezuidenhout told News24 that Meyer's work was praised for depicting "decay, neglect, abandonment and dereliction", but has been deteriorating the past few years. 

"It deteriorated as his battle with alcoholism continued," Bezuidenhout explained. 

"It is really sad that Meyer suffered depression in such an intimate manner – like a typical artist."

Bezuidenhout urged South Africans not to be caught up in the sensationalism of Meyer's murder, but honour him for his contribution to South African art. 

"If you look at all the important painters in South African art… all of them paint landscapes which Walter Meyer had a huge impact on," Bezuidenhout said. 

"While he remained almost conservative – never using video or performance art - Meyer should be honoured for his sheer brilliance: the way he captured light and atmosphere in a painting – he was the real deal."

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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