The Mercer-Williams House (2019)
Designed by New York architect John S. Norris in 1860 for Hugh W. Mercer, great-grandfather to Johnny Mercer, the Mercer-Williams House was restored and made famous by Jim Williams, the real-life character later made infamous by John Berendt’s book and Clint Eastwood’s film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This house was just one of over fifty historic-homes Williams preserved and restored in Savannah, Georgia and the nearby low-country area. Many tourists assume that Johnny Mercer, the famous song-writer and Savannah native, made his home in the Mercer-Williams House. But no Mercer ever lived in the home. Hugh W. Mercer left to serve the Confederacy in the Civil War and later sold his unfinished home while facing court martial charges for allegedly shooting deserters while in command of his troops. He was found not guilty and is now buried at Bonaventure Cemetery. The combination of lambent, lustrous color with dense, coagulated oil helps illuminate more of the house than the eye can see in Luba’s latest (2019) rendition of ‘The Mercer-Williams House.’ Her extensive use of shadows highlights more life, depth and dimension in this gorgeous work, both on the house and surrounding sidewalk as well as within the darkened foliage nearby.