Live Auction, 7 October 2019

Sold for

ZAR 967 300
Lot 616
  • Maggie Laubser; Weemoed (Melancholy)

Lot Estimate
ZAR 800 000 - 1 200 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium and VAT
ZAR 967 300

About this Item

South African 1886-1973
Weemoed (Melancholy)
signed with the artist's initials
oil on board
37 by 44,5cm excluding frame


Portraiture was a reoccurring genre for Maggie Laubser throughout her career. It is suggested that the present lot falls under her ‘Langebaan Phase’ (1928 – 1932), which corresponds with her excursions to this and other coastal villages, renewing her interest in nature.1 Where previously sitters were depicted against plain backgrounds (such as in Portrait of a Young Girl, lot 615), here she experiments with bringing nature into her backdrops.

Laubser has included a fantastical horizon line; a small house, with an impossibly steep road leading up to it, sits high upon a hill to the right of the sitter, while the land dips drastically away to the left to reveal the mountains beyond. This phase is also typified by sitters who fill the picture to such an extent that sometimes the tops of their heads are omitted. Additionally, hands become a gestural feature and are used to clutch flowers, stroke a cat, or – as in this instance – support a sitter’s head.

In 1931, Laubser held her first exhibition in the Transvaal at the Transvaal University College (now the University of Pretoria). The present lot was one of 34 works included in this exhibition and it was here that it was purchased by the current owner’s grandmother.

  1. Dalene Marais (1994) Maggie Laubser: her paintings, drawings and graphics. Johannesburg: Perskor. Page 174.


Mrs JA Kieser, Pretoria, acquired from the exhibition at Pretoria in 1931.

Acquired by descent to the current owner from her grandmother, Mrs JA Kieser.


MacFadyen Hall of the Transvaal University College (now University of Pretoria), Pretoria, 1931.


Dalene Marais (1994) Maggie Laubser: Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics, Johannesburg and Cape Town: Perskor. Illustrated on page 208, catalogue number 672.

Elsa Botha (1964) catalogue number 105.

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