Evening Sale

Live Virtual Auction, 19 March 2024

Evening Sale

Sold for

ZAR 1 372 500
Lot 50
  • Maggie Laubser; Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso
  • Maggie Laubser; Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso
  • Maggie Laubser; Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso
  • Maggie Laubser; Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso
  • Maggie Laubser; Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso
  • Maggie Laubser; Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso
  • Maggie Laubser; Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso


Lot Estimate
ZAR 900 000 - 1 200 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 1 372 500
Location
Cape Town

About this Item

South African 1886-1973
Malay Girl, recto; Still Life with Cat, verso
circa 1950

signed; accompanied by a letter exchange between the artist and previous owner Dr Renier Holtzhausen, a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist in 1970 and exhibition labels from the retrospective exhibition at Pretoria Art Museum in 1969

oil on board
recto: 50,5 by 45cm, excluding the frame; 73,5 by 68cm by 6,5cm, including the frame; verso: 49 by 44cm, excluding the frame; 71 by 65,5cm, including the frame

Notes

In a letter to the previous owner, Dr Holtzhausen, the artist dated the present lot to around 1950. By this time, Maggie Laubser would have been settled into her home, Altyd Lig, in Strand. Like many of her figures, the girl in this work is angled slightly away from the viewer, looking out to the side of the painting rather than straight ahead. The sitter, donning a striking and vibrant green headscarf and floral garment, is positioned slightly off-centre, which allows for the artist to include a white duck over her right shoulder. The background, a simple landscape with trees and thin clouds, would be an imagined landscape, conjured from the farms she used to live on as a child and the various other landscapes she encountered in her travels through Europe and the Cape.

The present lot is a recto, verso, the verso of which is a cat crouching down next to a vase of pink and white flowers. Laubser often painted arrangements like this: cats with various still life scenes – mostly flowers but also some with large orange pumpkins. Perhaps this verso work dates a little earlier than the recto because Laubser’s output between 1930 and 1940 often featured the animal. It is also possible that this is her own pet, as Stellenbosch University’s archives hold a remarkable photograph from the early 1930s of the artist cradling a black cat.

These two works feature motifs that Laubser revisited repeatedly throughout her career: portraits, birds, still lifes, and cats. She worked and reworked these themes, playing with composition, light, and colour to create her ‘fairy tales in paint … with bright colours and light’.1

1. Muller Ballot (2016) Maggie Laubser: A Window on Always Light. Stellenbosch: Sun Press, page 261.

Provenance

Mr B Torien, Kroonstad, circa 1950.

Dr Renier Holtzhausen, Pretoria, circa 1970.

Private Collection, circa 1990.

Exhibited

Pretoria Art Museum, Maggie Laubser Retrospective Exhibition, 1969, cat. no. 47, with the title Maleise Meisie.

Literature

Dalene Marais (1994) Maggie Laubser: Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics, Johannesburg and Cape Town: Perskor Publishers cat. no. 700, the recto illustrated in black and white on page 213, with the title Portrait of a Woman with a Head Scarf; Landscape with Duck in Background.

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