South African 1902-1962Online Works
Frieda Lock was born in England but moved to South Africa when her parents established a fruit farm in Stellenbosch in 1921. She studied in London at the Heatherley School of Art and the Central School of Art in the early 1930s, rather conservative institutions at the time, and her work is unlike the early work of artists who were her contemporaries such as Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. At Heatherley, Lock met Gregoire Boonzaier and Terence McCaw, who went on to found the New Group in Cape Town in 1938 with Lock and Lippy Lipshitz.
Locke is best-known for her still lifes and paintings of interiors, but her range of subject matter is much broader. During a lengthy stay in Zanzibar (1947–49), she completed many architectural studies and portraits of Arab sitters. Inevitably, these invite comparison with Irma Stern, who visited Zanzibar earlier than Lock did, in 1939 and again in 1945. The connection between the two artists’ work goes beyond subject matter – like Stern, Lock also framed her paintings using repurposed Zanzibari carved wooded window and door frames. Her portraits and figure studies nevertheless hold their own against Stern’s as they exhibit a gentler sensibility. There is great vitality in the manner in which Lock portrays her figures and in her use of colour. She clearly found physical delight in the touch of the brush on canvas and often her canvases are crusty with the application of thick oil paint impasto, resulting in a highly textured surface.
Fig. 1: Freida Lock (far right) with fellow members of the New Group in 1938: (left to right) Jeanette Pope-Ellis, Lippy Lipschitz and Florence Zerffi.
Live Auctions 47 lots offered 74.47% sold R 10 455 220
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