jueves, 13 de septiembre de 2018


Christa Zaat

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Maggie Laubser (South African painter and printmaker) 1886 - 1973
Annie of the Royal Bafokeng, 1945
oil on canvasboard
50 x 45 cm. (19.69 x 17.69 in.)
signed 'M. Laubser' (lower right); further signed, inscribed, and dated 'Maggie Laubser, Oortmanspoort, Klipheuvel Stasie, Kaap 1945' (verso)
private collection

Catalogue Note Bonhams
Maggie Laubser was often influenced by exotic beauty and her various travels within South Africa. Her portraits of young Indian and African women, in which flower motifs are employed as decorative surrounds, are some of her finest. Comparable works include Young girl with head scarf holding a protea, Pondo woman and Indian girl with poinsettias (all sold in these rooms 2009-2010). The red flowers shown here are from the Erythrina tree, also known as the coral tree.

When Laubser visited her friends the Versters at their home in Rustenburg in 1945, their nanny, Annie, was called upon to serve afternoon tea to their esteemed guest. Laubser was struck by the beauty of the young Annie, and was adamant that she should sit for a portrait. Several days later, on her departure, Laubser tucked the painting under her arm and left for the train station. Her hosts were surprised that she did not offer them the painting, and begged her to part with it. It was only on boarding the train that she relented, reluctantly selling the work for £45, a considerable sum in those days. Laubser was then at the peak of her career and knew she could command a high price for the painting back in the Cape.

Dr Verster had to seek special dispensation from the Bafokeng chief in order to employ Annie, a member of his people, as a nanny. At that time, the Royal Bafokeng held considerable power and wealth due to the discovery of substantial reserves of platinum on their land in the Rustenburg valley in the 1920s.

Oortmanspoort, which Laubser inscribed on the reverse of the painting, was the name of her farm near Klipheuwel in the Overberg, where she settled in 1924 after the conclusion of her European travels. Looking back on her career she claimed that "Everything I know the farm has taught me - not study abroad" (the artist, 1969, as quoted in van Rooyen, 1974, p.20).

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Maria Magdalena Laubser, known as Maggie Laubser is generally considered, along with Irma Stern, to be responsible for the introduction of Expressionism to South Africa. Her work was initially met with derision by critics but has gained wide acceptance, and now she is regarded as an exemplary and quintessentially South African artist.

Her work was initially met with derision by critics but has gained wide acceptance, and now she is regarded as an exemplary and quintessentially South African artist.

Laubser's youth was dominated by the rural and pastoral and she delighted in this carefree existence. After attending the farm school Rocklands, she left for boarding school at Bloemhof Seminary, Stellenbosch, where she was introduced to the art of drawing.

She studied painting under Roworth in Cape Town for two months of 1903, during which time she received a silver medal for her work. By 1907 she had become proficient enough to be elected to the South african Society of Artists (SASA) and, in 1909, she was represented at the annual exhibition of the SASA and the Fine Art Association of Cape Town. By 1910, she had her own studio in Cape Town.

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