Maggie Lauscher

Born: 1886, Malmesbury, South Africa Died:1973, Strand, South Africa For more than half her life, Maggie Laubser, was misunderstood by both public and art critics, but late in her life she became one of South Africa’s best loved artists. Maggie (Maria Magdalena) Laubser was born on a farm in the Malmesbury district in the Western Cape. Poor, with no employment prospects, she became a governess in Ermelo in the Transvaal (now Mpumalanga). There, she met the ex-consul for The Netherlands who noted her precocious painting talents and persuaded her to travel abroad with his family. From 1913 to 1924 she travelled and studied in Holland, London, Belgium, Italy and Germany. On her return, she retreated to the fishing villages of the Western Cape, living at Strand for 30 years until her death in her house she named “Altyd Lig” While in Germany her art was encouraged by the artist Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Precise, academic, realistic painting was not for her. The simplified forms, dark outlines, brooding faces, blazing or gloomy colours of the German Expressionists lit her palette. Like Irma Stern who she knew, she brought colour, if not light effects, to the rendering of the South African landscape and its people. Maggie Laubser was a deeply religious person. She believed that the earth and all life in it are parts of a harmonious whole under a benevolent creator.
Artist CV
Maria Magdalena(Maggie) Laubser Studies: - 1903 : briefly under Edward Roworth. - 1915 – 1918 : Slade School, London, under Henry Tonks and Ambrose McEvoy. - 1922 – 1924 : Maggie Laubser worked among German Expressionists in Berlin. Biography: - Born on the farm “Bloublommetjieskloof”. - 1897 – 1901 : boarding-school at Bloemhof Seminary, Stellenbosch, then returned to help mother on the farm; on a visit to relatives in Cape Town was introduced to a circle of artists and musicians, resulting in the desire to study singing and, later, painting. - 1907 : Maggie Laubser elected a member of South African Society of Artists. - c1912 : visited Pretoria : subsequently lived in the Transvaal; governess on a farm for a short while, later taught at Ermelo. - 1913 : Maggie Laubser left for Europe; lived briefly in the artists’ colony at Laren, Holland until outbreak of World War 1; thence to London. - 1951 : brief visit to South Africa; returned to England, studied at the Slade; painting-trips to Scotland and the Midlands. - 1918 – 1919 : Maggie Laubser lived in Antwerp; visit to Germany. - 1919 – 1920 : Maggie Laubser lived and worked at Torri bell Benaco and San Vigilio on the Garda Lake, North Italy. - 1920 : returned to South Africa; met Irma Stern on the voyage home. - 1921 : the facts are uncertain, but probably a short stay in Italy broken by a visit to South Africa. - 1922 – 1924 : Maggie Laubser lived in Berlin; no formal studies, but contact with the German Expressionists; encouraged by Karl Schmidt-Rotluff; produced a number of wood- and lino-cuts – unlocated; (four monotypes in possession of Dr H Silberberg, Tulbagh, Cape Town). - 1924 : returned permanently to South Africa; lived in seclusion on family farm at Oortmanspost, near Klipheuwel, Cape Town; made working trips to Transvaal, Orange Free State and Natal – many drawing sand paintings of African and Indian women; exhibited regularly; began to develop her distinctive pastoral style. - 1936 : Maggie Laubser served on the selection panel of the Empire Exhibition (the convenor was Professor Martin du Toit, long one of her most sincere supporters); a trip to Gansbaai with May Hillhouse resulted in her famous paintings of the fishing village; member of the New Group. - 1944 : subject of a monograph, Maggie Laubser, by Johannes Meintjes; moved to Strand. - 1946 : awarded Medal of Honour for Painting by Suid Afrikaanse Akademie - the first woman to receive it. - 1953 : built her cottage “Altyd lig” at Strand, where she lived until her death. - 1959 : Maggie Laubser elected Hon Member of Suid Afrikaanse Akademie. - 1968 : awarded Medal of Honour of SAAA (Cape Region). Had signed her work in three ways : Maggie Laubser (early), ML (particularly during 1920s) and M Laubser. Canvases seldom dated : where dates appear they have often been added later, with possible errors of memory. - 1974 : subject of a monograph by Johan van Rooyen. Art Exhibitions: - 1924 – 1970 : one-man exhibitions in all centers of South Africa. - 1936 : Empire Exhibition, Johannesburg. - 1948 : Overseas Exhibition of South African Art, Tate Gallery, et al. - 1952 : Venice Bien; Van Riebeeck Tercent Exhibition, Cape Town. - 1953 : Rhodes Cent Exhibition, Bulawayo. - 1956 : First Quad of South African Art. - 1958 – 1959 : South African Art Touring Netherlands, Belgium, Germany. - 1960 : Second Quad of South African Art. - 1963 : Retrospective Exhibition, Egon Guenther Gallery, Johannesburg. - 1964 : Third Quad of South African Art. - 1966 : Republic Festival Exhibition, Pretoria. - 1069 : Prestige Retrospective Exhibition, South Africa National Gallery, Cape Town : Pretoria Art Museum : Johannesburg Art Gallery. Public Art Collections: South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Pretoria Art Museum; Durban Art Gallery; AC White Gallery, Bloemfontein; Hester Rupert Art Museum, Grahams town : William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberley; Rembrandt Art Foundation; University of Wits Galleries : UNISA : Sandton Munic Collect. Maggie Laubscher Maggie Laubscher Maggie Laubscher