In November 1924 Maggie Laubser moved to her parents’ farm, Oortmanspoort, near Klipheuwel in the Malmesbury district after living in Europe for the better part of eleven years. There she established a small studio and painted scenes from the farm and portraits of farm labourers such as Lena. In this portrait Laubser uses the gaiety of the bright yellow headscarf as an antidote to the seriousness of Lena’s countenance.
Laubser's first solo exhibition opened on 16 October 1930 in the Ou Hoofgebou of Stellenbosch University. In his review of this exhibition in Die Huisgenoot, A.C. Verloren van Themaat wrote “What these paintings convey to me is a love of people. They reveal to me something about South Africa that I have not yet discovered myself. The young women workers who are hanging there as paintings were born on the farm and grew up there; they are Hannie, the domestic servant, and Lena, who does small chores on the farm [...] But they are spiritualised in a harmony of colours, grey and red, violet and green. They have been powerfully embodied and well drawn […] I get a sense of the compassion radiating from Maggie Laubser’s work”.1
Mrs A J Becker, Johannesburg.
Acquired from the artist by the current owner's grandmother.