Provenance: Prof and Mrs Meyer de Villiers, Stellenbosch
Exhibitions: Graham’s Fine Art Gallery, The Modern Palimpsest: Envisioning South African Modernity, Johannesburg, 29 May – 29 August 2008
Literature: Botha, E.J. 1964. Die Lewe en Skilderwerk van Maggie Laubser. Unpublished MA Dissertation, Pretoria: University of Pretoria, catalogue 204, p. 94, 95, 128
Delmont, E. (Aug/Sept 1975). Maggie Laubser – The RAU Catalogue Raisonné. Art Look,p 53
Miles, E. (Sept 1965). ‘Die skilderwerk van Maggie Laubser’. Historia. P 197
Notes: RAU neg 2451
Illustrated: Marais, D. 1994. Maggie Laubser, Her Paintings, Drawings and Graphics. Perskor Press, Johannesburg & Cape Town. Page 294,Cat. No. 1196.
According to Elza Botha, who wrote a Masters Dissertation on the work of Maggie Laubser (1963), the sunlight is caught within the objects, the flowers, and the pumpkins in this painting. The vase itself is simplified and without decoration. Botha (1963) curiously describes the pumpkins as aardblomme (flowers of the earth); and points out that the tone of this still life is rather light. Dalene Marais lists this painting in her catalogue raisonné as number 1196, and also mentions that Laubser was more interested in the seeds of the sunflower, because of its regenerative nature, than in a depiction of a conventional still life per se. Marais catalogues five still lives with sunflowers, including a very early work dating from the period that Marais (1994) describes as “Juvenilia (1902 – 1913)”.
The comparison between Laubser’s Sunflowers and the famous paintings by Vincent van Gogh, which she encountered in her youth while studying and working in Belgium and Holland, seems rather facile. It is more useful to compare Laubser’s sunflower pieces with those of another German Expressionist, Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876 – 1907) whose still lives are much more akin to those of Laubser’s.
by Wilhelm van Rensburg