Important South African and International Art, Decorative Arts & Jewellery

including Paintings from the Labia Family Collection and the Late Peter and Regina Strack Collection

Cape Town  |  10:30am Mon 15 Oct 2018


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Lot 556

South African 1886-1973
Ou Lena
signed and dated '26
oil on cardboard laid down on board
40 by 34cm excluding frame

This lot did not sell

Estimate R 500 000 - 700 000

It might still be available, contact us if you're interested.

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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

  1. AC Verloren van Themaat (1931). Een middag op die tentoonstelling van Maggie Loubser (sic). Die Huisgenoot, 16 January.

Mrs A J Becker, Johannesburg.

Acquired from the artist by the current owner's grandmother.

Dalene Marais (1994). Maggie Laubser: Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics, Johannesburg and Cape Town: Perskor. Illustrated on page 188, catalogue number 546, with the title Portrait of an Old Woman with Head Scarf.

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