4th Mar, 2021 19:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 82
Lot 82 - Maggie Laubser (South Africa 1886-1973)


Maggie Laubser (South Africa 1886-1973)
Birds Against Seascape

oil on board

Artwork date: 1953
Signature details: signed bottom right

Sold for R455,200
Estimated at R400,000 - R600,000


oil on board

Artwork date: 1953
Signature details: signed bottom right


40 x 50.5 cm; Framed size: 55 x 65 x 1.5 cm


Maggie Laubser was born and raised on her parents’ wheat farm Bloublommetjieskloof in Malmesbury, Western Cape. A farmgirl through and through, her affinity for nature was the primary impetus for her individual style and personal perspective that earned Laubser recognition as one of South Africa’s foremost artists.In 1947, Laubser relocated to Strand, a coastal town in the Helderberg area, where she lived in her cottage Altyd Lig. This move from the rural farmlands and the consequential nostalgia for her kontrei marked a notable change in Laubser’s work. Now in her sixties, well-established and recognised as an artist, Laubser—in her new urban surroundings—became reliant on recollections and memories of a pastoral past. No longer immersed in the former landscapes she depicted, she initiated a period of synthesis and simplification of form. Birds Against Seascape, painted in 1953, is characteristic of the dreamlike renderings Laubser produced throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Here, the artist has switched her palette of vivid colours for softer, pastel hues which she uses to make up flattened surface planes and simplified forms. Gentle tones of complementary pinks and greens in this seascape are coupled with harmonious lines; and the rhythmic curvature of the plump clouds above are echoed in the tide that rolls in below. A window into Laubser’s great imagination, this is a scene from the artist’s utopia. As Laubser continued to reminisce throughout these later years, it was also a period defined by many career highs. Between 1950 and 1960, she participated in more than 20 exhibitions, and received acclaim and admiration in 13 solo shows. In 1947, the same year that Birds Against Seascape was created, Laubser participated in the 26th Venice Biennale. With three of her works exhibited, this was surely a defining moment for the artist.

Lisa Truter

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, 4th Mar, 2021

Aspire Art Auctions’ Cape Town sale proved that the market for African and international art continues to thrive despite the pandemic.

The top lot by value was Irma Stern’s Dahlias and fruit, one of the most outstanding paintings from her late period, which achieved an impressive R5,234,800. Marlene Dumas scored a sensational hit when her early painting, Score, sold for R3,414,000, and stellar results were also achieved for celebrated artists; William Kentridge, George Pemba, Gerard Sekoto and Peter Clarke, amongst others, with world records at auction set for contemporary artists Turiya Magadlela and Gerhard Marx.

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