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Maggie Laubser. Art Institute South Africa. October 2018

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A condensed presentation of a lecture held at Strauss & Co in October 2018. Including never released audio excerpts of the interview with the South African artist over the course of 4 days in 1968 with famous South African art critic, Esmé Berman. This is a condensed version of the presentation

Published in: Art & Photos
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Maggie Laubser. Art Institute South Africa. October 2018

  1. 1. REMEMBERING Maggie Laubser A personal recollection by Kathryn Berman STRAUSS & CO JOHANNESBURG. TUESDAY 30 OCTOBER 2018: 18h00 Including excerpts from the original recorded four-day conversation between Maggie and Esmé Berman, in 1968. Originally commissioned for presentation at
  2. 2. REMEMBERING Maggie Laubser The following presentation has been edited for release on the internet. Kindly contact us on artinstituesouthafrica@gmail.com for a copy of the full presentation and essay. Kathryn is also available as a keynote presenter for your event. www.artinstitutesouthafrica.com
  3. 3. Maggie Laubser Was 82 in February 1968 When She Was Interviewed Over the Course of Four Days by my Mother, Esmé Berman, at Maggie’s Home, Altyd Lig, in the Strand (Cape) About her Life and Work.
  4. 4. This Talk includes revelations and excerpts from that original taped interview (conversation) between Esmé Berman and Maggie Laubser over the three days in February 1968. The interview forms the basis of the entry on Maggie Laubser in Esmé’s Definitive ‘Art & Artists of South Africa’, 1971.
  5. 5. Opening Video available on: https://youtu.be/zAXxP29ZHjw
  6. 6. As told to Esmé then…
  7. 7. Magdalena Maria (Maggie) Laubser was born in 1886 on the wheat farm, Bloublommetjieskloof, in the Malmesbury district of the Western Cape. Maggie was the oldest of six children born to an Afrikaans father and Danish mother. She died on 11 May 1973, at her home Altyd Lig in the Strand. In between she lived in Cape Town, Ermelo… The Netherlands, England, Belgium, Germany, Italy. She settled in the Strand in 1942.
  8. 8. “I left school at fifteen years old….“I had to leave school because there wasn’t money to send the others to boarding school.” Pic: Ballot.M( 2016) Venster op Altyd Lig “…And that was my life…” Press for Audio
  9. 9. “I was nine years old when my father gave me a horse to ride. And I used to get up early in the mornings. Then my father would say: ‘Wat wil jy so vroeg opstaan?’ ‘Ek wil die son sien opgaan’. I want to see the sunrise” Press for Audio
  10. 10. It is strange, but wonderful, to get up so early and take the horse. And canter. And feel the horse keeping time, keeping pace with all the beauty around. You have no idea”. Press for Audio
  11. 11. And while Maggie had her chores cut out for her on the farm at age 15: “I wanted to do something creative. That urge was so strong .. Not just sewing.. But if only somebody encouraged me. But nobody encouraged me!” Press for Audio
  12. 12. Until…. One Day… In Sea Point, London Road… Her first patron…but not her last Press for Audio
  13. 13. Not one for the studio method… this lasted her whole life.. She reminisces about the Slade, Europe, Expressionism on that, and the subsequent, visit German Expressionist Max Pechstein Self-portrait Fast Forward to 1914:
  14. 14. “I imagine and I draw”
  15. 15. “I was just starting – doing Expressionistic work… And then I showed my works at an exhibition. And they slated me!
  16. 16. “Why would any normal, sane human being in all of South Africa appreciate as a work of art, to enjoy as a picture...the one sent by Maggie Laubser?"  Newspaper critic Bernard Lewis 1932 Please contact us on artinstitutesouthafrica@gmail.com for the full presentation
  17. 17. “You know Esmé, to me art is anything you feel – anything; whatever you feel. Express it… And perhaps in a year’s time you feel differently. Why not? Why should that be …condemned?” Press for Audio
  18. 18. To her last days, Maggie would wake up and make her way to her studio: “I paint in the mornings when I am fresh.” Two hours was enough by then. And then she would attend to chores.
  19. 19. “To See the Beauty in Everything… That is the only way to be Alive”. “Then you get Conscious”.
  20. 20. Esmé, like Maggie, died at 87. She, like Maggie, continued to work until her death. In her last years, she fulfilled the promises made to the artists that she loved and respected: With Karel Nel, she wrote the mammoth two volume catalogue raisonné and biography on Alexis Preller - published in her 80th year. For Raisonné Publishers, she was commissioned to write a series of monographs - on Pierneef, Stern, Battiss, and her long-promised monograph. (All unpublished to date) While many academic works have been written by other academics in the interim… this was a labour of love. Please contact us for the full presentation
  21. 21. artinstitutesouthafrica@gmail.com www.artinsitutesouthafrica.com
  22. 22. Maggie Laubser Timeline BORN 14 April 1886 Eldest of 6 STUDY; EXHIBIT 1903; 1907&10 Cape Town GOVERNESS 1912 Ermelo MEET JHA BALWE 1913 Durban
  23. 23. HOLLAND 1913 With Sister by boat SLADE 1914 London EUROPE 1919-1921 JHA & Arnold Balwe SA - BERLIN 1922 - 1924 Blaue Reiter
  24. 24. STRAND 1942 CAPE TOWN 1937 Three Anchor Bay SOUTH AFRICA 1924 Oortmanspost DIES 1972

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