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LAUBSER Maria Magdalena (Maggie)

by Andries Loots

Maggie Laubser's
work is escalating rapidly  in value at the moment and at auction her work is fetching record prices ( R256 220 at the last auction). During her lifetime people disregarded this great artist's work as being too naive and childlike and she could not convince most people to buy her work for a mere R 250.

She was born in 1886 in Malmesbury, Cape Province and died in 1973 in Strand, Cape Town.

A painter of landscapes, portraits, genre and still life, her work is characterized by bold, bright colours and simplified subject matter. She  worked in oil and occasionally in gouache and also did a large number of drawings and monotypes. She painted Cape farms and fishing villages and during the 1930's did a series on birds and cats. During the 1950's her work became more abstract.

1903 briefly under Professor Edward Roworth (qv); 1913-14 six months
study in Laren, The Netherlands; 1914-19 Slade School of Art, London, under Henry Tonks , Ambrose McEvoy , Walter W Russell  and Philip Wilson Steer; 1922 occasional night classes in figure drawing under Professor Jachels in Berlin.

Strongly influenced by the German Expressionists particularly Schmidt-Rotluff and Marc, with whom she was in contact. From 1922 a close friend of
Irma Stern. 1907 a member of the SA Society of Artists. 1938 a member of the New Group. 1912 worked as a teacher in the Transvaal; 1913 visited The Netherlands; 1914-19 lived in London, visiting Scotland, the English Midlands and SA; 1919-20 in Belgium and Germany; 1920-21 lived on Lake Garda and at San Vigilo, Italy; 1921-22 in SA; 1922-24 in Berlin, Germany, thereafter lived in the Transvaal and the Cape. A film on her life was made by the Union Department of Education and Rembrandt Ltd.

Participated in group exhibitions from 1909 in SA, Italy,Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), The Netherlands, Belgium, West Germany and the UK; 1925
Argus Gallery, Cape Town, first of many solo exhibitions held in SA; 1938 Stellenbosch, joint exhibition with Rene Graetz, Cecil Higgs and Lippy Lipshitz,   1948 Tate Gallery, London, South African Art Exhibition; 1956, 1960 and 1964 Quadrennial Exhibitions; 1965 South African Association of Arts Gallery, Cape Town, Retrospective Exhibition; 1969 South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Pretoria Art Museum and Johannesburg Art Gallery, Retrospective Exhibition; 1975 University of Stellenbosch, Prestige Exhibition; 1975 Rand Afrikaans University, Prestige Exhibition; 1980 University of Stellenbosch, Prestige Exhibition; 1986 South African Association of Arts Gallery Pretoria, Commemorative Exhibition; 1986 Silberberg Gallery, Tulbagh, Cape Province, Centenary Exhibition.

1946 - Medal of Honour for Painting, SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en
Kuns: 1947 - Oscar Award, Die I/aderland newspaper
1959 - elected a Honorary Member of SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns; 1968 - Medal of Honour, South African Association of Arts (Cape Region).

Durban Art Gallery; Hester Rupert Art Museum, Graaff-Reinet;
Johannesburg Art Gallery; Julius Gordon Africana Centre, Riversdale; King George VI Art Gallery, Port Eliabeth; National Museum, Bloemfontein; Potchefstroom Museum; Pretoria Art Museum; Rand Afrikaans University; Sandton Municipal Collection; SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns; SA National Gallery, Cape Town; University of the Orange Free State; University of Pretoria; University of South Africa; University of Stellenbosch; University of the Witwatersrand; William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley.

J Meintjes, Maggie Laubser, 1944, HAUM, Cape Town; J van Rooyen,
Maggie Laubser, 1974, C Struik, Cape Town; The Arts in SA, edited by WHK, 1933-34, The Knox Printing & Publishing Company, Durban; KK; PSA;Collectors' Guide; Our Art 1, Art SA, Oxford Companion to Art (under SA) SA Art;Oxford Companion to 20C Art (under SA), Panorama - February 1969 & September 1973; Artlook December 1968, November 1969, June 1973, October 1973 &August / September 1975; De Arte April 1976; SA Arts Calendar March 1984 & Winter 1986.

The Artist's Studio ( University of Stellenbosch Collection )

The Artist's Studio 
( University of Stellenbosch Collection )
Harvesters in a landscape
Harvesters in a landscape
Landscape with figures and ducks
Landscape with figures and ducks
Portrait of a Shepherd
Portrait of a Shepherd
Huts, Figures and sheep in a Landscape
Huts, Figures and sheep in a Landscape

The Dictionary of South African Painters and Sculptors
,  Grania Ogilvie,  Published by Everard Read, 
ISBN. 0 620 12663 9
Maggie Laubser,  Her paintings, drawings and graphics,  Dalene Marais,  Perskor, 
 ISBN 0 628 03461 x