31st Oct, 2016 20:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 54
Lot 54 - Erik Laubscher (South Africa 1927-2013)


Erik Laubscher (South Africa 1927-2013)

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1988
Signature details: signed and dated; inscribed with the artist's name, the title, address and date on the reverse

Sold for R227,360
Estimated at R300,000 - R500,000


oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1988
Signature details: signed and dated; inscribed with the artist's name, the title, address and date on the reverse


91.5 x 118.5 cm


In 1950 the 23-year-old Erik Laubscher went to study under Fernand Léger at the Académie Montmartre in Paris. According to Laubscher “it was Léger that taught me what is important in a painting, regarding composition as well as concept” (Gray 1978:107). Léger’s theories of light were clearly a strong influence, but it was Léger’s basic principles of directness and a monumental vision that had the greatest impact on the development of Laubscher’s painting style. In 1952 he returned to South Africa, married French artist Claude Bouscharain and settled in Cape Town as head of the Contemporary School of Art. Labelled as an “art activist” and “hot headed” leader of the arts pack in Cape Town after his return from Paris, Hans Fransen (2009:2) maintains “few people have played a more decisive role than Erik Laubscher in changing a largely parochial, conservative climate into an environment much more receptive to art in all its manifestations”.

Two years before Laubscher received a special medal of honour for painting from the South African Academy for Science and the Arts in 1990 he completed Daeraad Kouebokkeveld. The mountainous area of the Western Cape located near Prince Alfred Hamlet was a destination Laubscher frequented with of a group of artists, including Bouscharain and Stanley Pinker. Laubscher made regular trips to the Kouebokkeveld to sketch and paint, and some of his most impressive paintings were inspired by his experiences in this area.

In Daeraad Kouebokkeveld, realism is transformed into abstraction by means of arresting forms in the foreground – shards containing within them primordial landscapes – producing a monumental depiction on canvas of a direct experience of the landscape. “Just as important as form and structure are colour, light and the creation of a particular atmosphere,” Amanda Botha (2004) observed. “The crux of the matter for Laubscher is the essence of the experience, not the sentiment evoked by a picturesque scene.”

Johan Myburg


Botha, A. (2004). Erik Laubscher – Foreword to 2004 Exhibition with Jacobus Kloppers and Walter Meyer at Johans Borman Fine Art, [online]. Available at: http://www.johansborman.co.za/artist-biographies/laubscher-erik/ [Accessed on 6 September 2016].

Fransen, H. (2009). Erik Laubscher: A Life in Art, Stellenbosch: SMAC Art Gallery.

Gray, S. (1978). Erik Laubscher and his environment. In: Our Art III, Pretoria: Lantern.

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, 31st Oct, 2016

The line-up for our inaugural sale included an extraordinary selection of art. Works ranged from JH Pierneef’s breathtaking Karoo near Hofmeyer, painted in 1930, to Dan Halter’s 2006, ultraviolet light, Pefection. 

Sculptures varied from Edoardo Villa’s acknowledgment of French artist, Aristide Maillol to Wim Botha’s heads that draw on classical and contemporary sources and Ed Young’s cheeky nude self-portrait. Also included were impressive photographs by award-winners, David Goldblatt and Pieter Hugo.

The auction set an impressive standard, with an outstanding sell-through rate of over 75% across 121 lots. The top lot of the sale was Alexis Preller’s exceptional Profile Figures (Mirrored Image), selling for over  R7-million. Record sales were achieved for Villa, Goldblatt, and Hugo, amongst others.


Friday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 28 October 2016 | 10 am – 4 pm


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