Maggie Laubser: Boy playing guitar - SOLD
Boy playing guitar - 1956
Oil on board
45,5 x 56 cm
Signed bottom left
Sold - 2009
The course of Maggie Laubser’s stylistic development was determined by her studies in Berlin from 1922 to 1924. She found an instinctive affinity for German Expressionism, and shared the views of Der Blaue Reiter group who believed that Man is in mystical unity with his world. She was no longer concerned with simply portraying nature, and strove to give her work an expressive symbolic character by intensifying the colour and form of the imagery.
Although some of her strongest works were portraits, Laubser preferred to paint from memory without the subject in view, and her subject matter continued to be drawn from the pastoral scenes of her childhood - the people and things she knew intimately, understood and loved.
By the 1950’s Laubser started revisiting her favourite themes. The earliest painting of a boy playing the guitar in a landscape setting, which has been recorded in the comprehensive catalogue compiled by Dalene Marais, and which is of a very similar composition as this 1956 work, is dated 1926. Stylistically, however, this later work is less forceful; shapes and lines are much smoother, and the very vibrant colours of Laubser’s early expressionist palette have made way for softer tints. As in most of her pastoral works, she set out to elevate her subject to a nobility and sanctity, in accordance with her desire to express joy and give joy and happiness.
Maggie Laubser’s career serves as a testimony to her integrity as an artist - in her adherence to her personal vision and beliefs, she triumphed over the ridicule, hardship and hurt of years of rejection. She had created a new reality in South African art, and had succeeded in changing the way her fellow countrymen viewed the pastoral world in which she grew up.
The original label on the back of the painting reads:
“3) “Boy playing guitar”
120 Gns -
Dalene Marais, Maggie Laubser, her paintings, drawings and graphics, Johannesburg, 1994, p 292, Ref. no. 1183
Johan van Rooyen, Maggie Laubser, Cape Town, 1974, pp 21 and 22