Live Auction, 7 October 2019

Sold for

R 512 100
Lot 610
Maggie Laubser; Janie

Lot Estimate
R 400 000 - 600 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
R 512 100

About this Item

South African 1886-1973
oil on board
46 by 36cm excluding frame


Throughout her career, Laubser frequently included vegetables, fruit, plants, and flowers in her portraiture as symbols of fertility. In the present portrait, the sitter is surrounded by bell-shaped blossoms and the artist has perched a yellow-breasted bird on a branch in the foreground. Her biographer, Dalene Marais, wrote about Laubser’s symbolic portraits, “The bird, which already appears in earlier portraits, is often used. Perhaps as an attempt to relate a motif, which is usually associated with the heavens, to woman’s earth-bound orientation and existence.”1 Much like her earlier portraiture, in the present lot Laubser simplified the sitter’s hair and face by making them flat and angular, which gives the portrait a mask-like appearance.2 While these techniques were probably utilised to imbue the sitter with an ‘every woman’ quality, with the artist’s consent, the present lot was given its title by the current owner as the portrait reminded her of a specific woman: her sister Janie.

  1. Dalene Marais (1994) Maggie Laubser: Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics. Johannesburg: Perskor. Page 52.
  2. Ibid.


Mrs M Larizza, Rome, commissioned 1972.


International Exhibition of Women Artists, Rome, 1973.


Dalene Marais (1994). Maggie Laubser: Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics, Johannesburg and Cape Town: Perskor. Illustrated on page 386, catalogue number 1756.

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