Owen Merton

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Owen Heathcote Grierson Merton, RBA (14 May 1887–18 January 1931) was a New Zealand-born British painter, known primarily for his watercolours, landscapes, and seascapes. His work shows the influence of the Post-Impressionist representational style.[citation needed]

Merton was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he studied at the Canterbury College School of Art. He married Ruth Jenkins, an American, by whom he had two sons, the American Trappist monk and writer Thomas Merton and John Paul Merton.[citation needed]. (Owen Merton appears in his son Thomas' famous spiritual autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain.) He painted in England and France until 1916, when the pressures of the First World War drove him and his family to move in with his in-laws in Flushing, Long Island, where he worked briefly as a landscape gardener.

After the 1921 death of his wife, Merton lived in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, then in Bermuda. Throughout his career, Merton exhibited his paintings, with varying degrees of success. After returning to Europe in 1923, was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists.[citation needed] He continued to travel between his birthplace of New Zealand, Europe, and the US. He died of a brain tumour in London, England, in 1931.[1][2]

Owen Merton's paintings are on permanent display in galleries around the world, most particularly in the Museum of New Zealand.[3] A major retrospective of his work was displayed in 2004.


  1. ^ OWEN MERTON. merton.org. 2015-10-16. 
  2. ^ Owen Heathcote Grierson Merton. findagrave.com. 2017-10-10. 
  3. ^ Collection objects: Merton, Owen, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Accessed 29 November 2013.

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