31st Oct, 2016 20:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 9
Lot 9 - Erik Laubscher (South Africa 1927-2013)


Erik Laubscher (South Africa 1927-2013)
Still life with jug and apples

oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1948
Signature details: signed and dated '1 October 48', 1948

Sold for R956,617
Estimated at R500,000 - R800,000


oil on canvas

Artwork date: 1948
Signature details: signed and dated '1 October 48', 1948


71 x 91.5 cm


Erik Laubscher studied under Maurice van Essche at the Continental School of Art in Cape Town in 1946 and 1947 after being rejected by Michaelis Art School “because he could not draw” (Chisholm 2013). It was on Van Essche’s recommendation that he left South Africa in 1948 to study in London and spent short bursts at reputable institutions and with numerous well-known artists of the time. He studied portrait drawing under Frank Slater, a student of Walter Sickert, and then enrolled at the newly established Anglo-French Art Centre in St John’s Wood where his teachers included John Minton, Claude Venard and John Berger. In 1949 he returned to South Africa before moving to Paris in 1950 to further his tuition at the Académie Montmartre where the Cubist painter Fernand Léger proved to be a major influence in Laubscher’s career.

Still Life with Jug and Apples was painted by a 21-year-old Laubscher, prior to Léger’s influence. This sill life is painted in a mannered style that reflected his youthful interest in pre-war modernism, with the planes flattened and objects depicted without any perspectival recession; the sensuous quality of the paint reminiscent of that of Van Essche’s approach. Next to the stylised and angular jug Laubscher introduces three apples as the warm focal point.

In 2009 a still life by Laubscher painted in 1952 fetched R1,2 million at an auction in Cape Town, at the time the highest amount paid for a work by a living South African artist in South Africa.

Johan Myburg


Chisholm, F. (2013). “Artist Erik Laubscher dies”. Cape Times, [online]. Available at: http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/artist-erik-laubscher-dies-1520672 [Accessed 24 August 2016].

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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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