Live Virtual Auction, 10 - 11 May 2020
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About this Item
It is suggested that the present lot was painted in 1921, due to its subject matter and rendering.1 In this year Maggie received a book from her benefactor, Jan Balwe, of letters that Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, and friend, Emile Bernard. Maggie had encountered Van Gogh’s work a few years prior and was struck by his art and spirituality, which had a notable influence on Maggie both personally and artistically. In an excerpt from one of his letters to Bernard published in the book, Van Gogh wrote “There is no blue without yellow and orange, and when you paint blue, paint yellow and orange as well.”2 In the present lot Maggie has dutifully followed Van Gogh’s words, pointillistically painting a royal blue jug alongside a sharp yellow lemon and a vibrant orange. Maggie would have learned about the pointillist technique from images of works by its pioneers, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac and its brief follower, Van Gogh, that were reproduced in her art books. Pointillism, a movement that grew out of Impressionism, is the placement of broken brushstrokes or dots of pure, unmixed colour next to each other; allowing a viewers’ eyes to mix or blend the colours together to form a complete image. The present lot is believed to be the only true work of pointillism that Maggie produced and is a thoughtful testament to the movement and its artists. 3
1. Dalene Marais (1994) Maggie Laubser: Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics. Johannesburg: Perskor, page 134.
2. Muller Ballot (2016) Maggie Laubser: A Window on Always Light. Stellenbosch: Sun Press, page 92.
3. Ibid, page 90.
Purchased at Maggie Laubser's Stellenbosch exhibition in 1930 by Mrs A E Malherbe, Stellenbosch.
Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurverenigings, Stellenbosch, Maggie Laubser, October 1930.
South African Association of Arts Gallery, Cape Town, Works by Maggie Laubser, 26 April to 8 May 1965, catalogue number 45.
South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Maggie Laubser Retrospective, 3 July to 2 September 1969, catalogue number 3.
South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Paris and South African Art, unknown date, catalogue number 151.
Johann Van Rooyen (1965) 'Development Over Four Decades Seen in Painter's Show', Cape Times, 28 April : page 4.
F.L. Alexander (1969) 'In die S A Nasionale Kunsmuseum Maggie Laubser Sing Lof van Boland en Al Sy Mense', Burger, 5 July : page 2.
E. Green (1969) 'A Fully Representative Collection of Pictures', Cape Argus, 7 July : page 15.
Nico Van Rensburg, (1969), 'Maggie Laubser - 'n Retrospektiewe Uitstalling', Die Vaderland, 11 Nov : page 2.
Dalene Marais (1994) Maggie Laubser: Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics, Johannesburg and Cape Town: Perskor, illustrated on page 134, catalogue number 246.