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Erich Mayer - South African Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Erich Mayer (1876 - 1960)

Erich Mayer was born in Karlsruhe, Germany 1876 - 1960

Art Education
1894-96: architecture at Charlottenburg Technische Hochschule, Berlin.
1903: some study in Germany.
1907: drawing and painting in Karlsruhe.
1909-11: drawing and painting in Stuttgart.
1935-36: in Florence, under Chini and Annigoni

Short Artist Biography
- Erich Mayer was educated in Berlin, could not afford to study art, but won a bursary for architectural training.
- 1896: his studies were discontinued when ill-health confined him to bed for two years.
- 1898: seeking a more healthy climate, Erich Mayer came to South Africa; appointed Assistant Land-Surveyor at Vrede, Freestate.
- 1899: Erich Mayer joined a Boer commando fighting in the Anglo-Boer War; sketched farmers at whose farms he stopped-over with his battalion.
- 1900: Erich Mayer was captured by the British at Mafeking and sent to St Helena. There he devoted his leisure-time to art.
- 1902: Erich Mayer was repatriated to Germany as an alien; spent winter 1902-03 in Tunisia
- 1904: poor health brought him back to South West Africa, where he devoted himself to painting. He returned twice to Germany for art studies, in 1907 and 1909.
1911: following Union, Erich Mayer was able to re-enter South Africa; moved successively from Port Elizabeth to Potchefstroom to Pretoria; worked as a newspaper artist; became acquainted with Wenning and Pierneef, to whom he taught the art of woodcut.
- 1914: once again interned during WW1; 21 months in camp in Pietermaritzburg.
- 1916: after his release on parole, Erich Mayer travelled and exhibited in the Transvaal and Stellenbosch.
- 192I-25: based in Johannesburg.
- 1928: Erich Mayer married Margaretha Gutter and the two travelled South Africa by caravan; Mayer's paintings became very popular among the rural community; commission for a mural for Johannesburg College of Education.
- 1931: Erich Mayer settled in Pretoria.
- 1933: he and his wife started a spinning and weaving school in Pretoria.
- 1935-36: Erich Mayer studied in Florence.
- 1939: following separation from his wife, Erich Mayer travelled and exhibited all over the Transvaal.
- 1943: Erich Mayer awarded Medal of Honour for Painting by South African Akademie.
- 1953: `Erich Mayer Album' published by HAUM - De Bussy. Illustrated a number of Afrikaans books, including `Nuwejaarfees Op Palmietfontein' by Leon Mare. Several of his paintings have bee reproduced by E Schweikerdt (Pty) Ltd. Member of NSA, Eastern Province Society of Arts and Crafts, East London Society of Arts, Transvaal Society of Arts

Art Exhibitions
- 1914: first one-man exhibition, Jhb; widely in all quarters of South Africa.
- 1920-: regular exhibitor on South African Academy, Jhb.
- 1952: Van Riebeeck Tercent Exhibition, CT.
- 1962: `Art in South West Africa', South African National Galllery, CT.
- 1972: Prestige retrospective exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum.

Public Art Collections
Johannesburg Art Galllery; Pretoria Art Museum; AC White Gallery. Bloemfontein; William Humphreys Gallery, Bloemfontein War Museum


Berman, E. 1994. Art & Artists of South Africa . Southern Book Publishers.

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