n De Arte - Erich Mayer, Walter Battiss and San rock art : research




Erich Mayer and Walter Battiss were both intensely involved in a study of the art of the indigenous people of southern Africa, especially San rock art. Mayer's interest in San rock art started as early as 1898, when he made tracings of the Stow drawings he saw in the possession of a distant relative, Dorothea Bleek, in Cape Town. It was Erich Mayer who introduced the young Walter Battiss to actual San Rock paintings. Although Battiss' interest in San rock art was strongly influenced by the views of Erich Mayer, Battiss' identification with the artists of the rocks is more intense and spiritual and this undoubtedly contributed in a great measure to the development of his own art. This article explores both these artists' utilization of indigenous art and gives some insight into their views of indigenous art.


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