SA artist, John Meyer’s landmark collection, Lost in the Dust, on show in London

Bonhams and Investec will present Lost in the Dust, an exhibition celebrating a powerful series of narrative paintings of the Anglo-Boer War by John Meyer, South Africa’s leading contemporary realist artist. On public viewing at Bonhams from July 22 in London, 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, these fifteen works 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. They are at once compelling, delicate, emotional and foreboding.

Owner of the collection, Louis Norval, is a passionate art collector and ex-SA amateur golf champion. In his spare time he is a global investor. He says: “It is evident that over the last 20 years, South Africa has witnessed major political, social and cultural change. So, from this perspective, it is easy to dismiss the Anglo-Boer war of 1899 as a distant historical occurrence that has no bearing on contemporary life.

“But, I am convinced that John Meyer’s Lost in the Dust series reveal what an error this is. Being the descendant of Boer and British ancestors, the artist depicts the story from both sides. These are not works of dry fact; rather, vivid explorations of how it must have felt to be involved in the conflict.

“These paintings form part my collection as panoramic landscapes that highlight Meyer’s technical virtuosity, but do not overshadow the human drama at the centre of each work. It is my belief that this extraordinary series will only further consolidate Meyer’s reputation as one of South Africa’s foremost living artists.”

Francois Pienaar, former Springbok captain and rugby legend, added: “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.”

And Giles Peppiatt, director of South African art at Bonhams, said of the works: “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. Investec are to be complimented in facilitating the interest in African art that will result from this exhibition.”

The Lost in the Dust exhibition will open to public viewing from July 22 to 30 in London, and from August 11 to 20 in Edinburgh.


An auction of a unique painting depicting the Waterberg region in South Africa, donated by John Meyer, will be held at the private opening reception at Bonhams in London on Tuesday, July 21 in aid of Tusk, the African wildlife conservation organisation and charitable partner of Investec. This charitable auction, part of Tusk’s 25th Anniversary will raise funds for the charity’s key conservation projects, including efforts to save the Waterberg Rhino.

Tusk’s Royal Patron, Prince William, has spoken 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. To me, there is something awe-inspiring and magical about what most embodies this diverse continent: its people, landscape and wildlife. … 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.”

Charlie Mayhew, CEO of Tusk said: “We are delighted that John Meyer has donated a unique, never before seen piece in aid of conservation and protection of wildlife. 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.”

Brandtfontein Memories Lost

Brandtfontein Memories Lost

The Return of De La Rey

The Return of De La Rey

Dark Cover, Brandt Camp

Dark Cover, Brandt Camp

The Death of Pietie Brandt

The Death of Pietie Brandt

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