Modern and Contemporary Art

Live Virtual Auction, 16 May 2023

Modern and Contemporary Art

Sold for

ZAR 1 305 250
Lot 41
  • Erik Laubscher; Still Life with Black Jug, Apples, Book and Tureen on a Table
  • Erik Laubscher; Still Life with Black Jug, Apples, Book and Tureen on a Table
  • Erik Laubscher; Still Life with Black Jug, Apples, Book and Tureen on a Table


Lot Estimate
ZAR 1 000 000 - 1 500 000
VAT is charged on both hammer & premium for daggered lots
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 1 305 250

About this Item

South African 1927-2013
Still Life with Black Jug, Apples, Book and Tureen on a Table

signed and dated 1 Oct '48

oil on canvas
71 by 92cm excluding frame; 74 by 95 by 5cm including frame

Notes

After a gentle expressionist grounding with Maurice van Essche in Cape Town in 1946, a young and ambitious Erik Laubscher moved to London the following year, taking lessons first with Frank Slater, and then enrolling in the Anglo-French Art Centre (AFAC) in St John’s Wood. During this brief London stay, which ended early in 1949 with a beer-fuelled farewell and a ticket on a small Cape Town-bound freighter, Laubscher put together a stunning and assured group of loosely Cubist still life paintings defined by moody palettes, thickly-expressed black outlines, flattened planes, and glowing patches of electric colour. The current lot, a startling, neatly-conceived and gloriously vibrant painting, might be the finest example of the lot. Everyday objects are transformed in Still Life with Black Jug, Apples, Book and Tureen on a Table. The dramatic two-toned vessel is setup at an impossible angle, while the tureen, with a violent flash of purple marking its rim, is made up of interlocking segments of contrasting colours. The three central apples are a special treat: quick undercoats of subdued green and grey allow the violet and crimson highlights to shimmer and glint. There is little doubt that Laubscher’s primary influences at the time came from Picasso and Braque – the radical simplification of form, daring approach to colour, and easy reliance on off-kilter perspectives is clear – but he likely learned many of these stylistic traits second-hand from the artists associated with AFAC. Still Life with Black Jug, Apples, Book and Tureen on a Table bears a strong (and favourable) resemblance to works by John Minton, Keith Vaughan, Claude Venard and Jankel Adler, for instance. The influence of these London-based painters predated the significant impact made by Bernard Buffet and Fernand Léger on Laubscher’s Parisian-era aesthetic.

Provenance

Aspire Art Auctions, Johannesburg, October 2016, lot 9.
Private Collection, New York.

Literature

Hans Fransen (2009) Erik Laubscher; A Life in Art, Stellenbosch: SMAC Art Gallery, illustrated in black and white on page 28 and in colour on page 29.

View all Erik Laubscher lots for sale in this auction


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