Artist John Buchan dies after COVID-19 complications

John Buchan, well-known Hartbeespoort sculptor and painter passed away on Sunday, 4 July, at the age of 83 while in hospital with Covid-19 complications.

John Buchan

John, a much-loved personality in Hartbeespoort for many years, was an internationally known artist whose paintings and sculptures were collected by art lovers all over the world.

“John was hospitalised and on a ventilator for two weeks. He was getting better but suffered a heart attack on Sunday,” said filmmaker, Paul Kruger, who was a close friend and neighbour of Buchan. He lived alone.

Buchan was primarily a wildlife painter and sculptor and he moved to Hartbeespoort many years ago to live in a more natural environment with wildlife. His son, Peter, described him as a multi-faceted character. “He had lived a diverse and interesting life: he studied graphic art and worked with leading advertising agencies at one time, but he also possessed an adventurous streak which led to his pursuit of a career in farming north of Brits for many years. He harboured a deep and abiding love of the African bush, and despite many challenges maintained a high level of artistic expression that resulted in invitations to several important exhibitions and many private commissions in both painting and sculpture. In his final years he deeply lamented an apparent waning in the appreciation of fine art – yet those privileged to engage with him will remember an open, curious and jovial personality; fun and exciting to be around. His artwork adorns the homes and hearts of many, and he will be dearly missed by his three children, friends and family.”

Kruger echoed this. “Unfortunately, like many other South African artists, he did not receive enough acknowledgement for his talent and art during his lifetime. It is always sad that artists are only acknowledged once they are gone.”

Buchan largest commission was the life-size bronze elephant sculpture at the Mopanya Mall in Soweto.