Special artist focus on two quintessential Cape painters, Bouscharain and Laubscher
“Searching for an organized state of intensity… I am bringing together opposing values… between these two kinds of relationships, which are eternal subjects for painting, I am looking for a relationship of intensity”. This quote from the famous cubist and modernist artist Fernand Henri Léger not only had a significant impact on the work of artist couple Claude Bouscharain and Erik Laubscher, it was sort of an unconscious manifesto of how they approached their relationship. and their way of life.
Leading auction house Strauss & Co is pleased to announce a special artistic focus on two quintessential Cape painters, Bouscharain and Laubscher, in its upcoming live virtual auction, which will take place on 11e and 12e October 2021.
“Bouscharain and Laubscher were true deans of Cape painting,” explains Kirsty Colledge, head of the artistic department at Strauss & Co in Cape Town. “The evening session of our spring auction will begin with a showcase of eight examples of these two artists. Spanning five decades, we hope this presentation gives collectors a glimpse of their extraordinary, interwoven creative journey. Art critic and writer Melvyn Minnaar called Laubscher the “head of the pack” in Cape Town. “His enthusiasm, energy and dedication was inspiring. Her partner Bouscharain has been an internationally acclaimed artist throughout her career.
Laubscher met Bouscharain in 1950 at the Académie Montmartre in Paris, where Léger was director, and exerted a strong influence on the work of the two artists.. Their love story is as evocative as that of writer Jan Rabie and artist Marjorie Wallace or Amadeo Modigliani and Jeanne Hebuturne – filled with interesting characters, rebellion against the status quo and opposition to racial laws. draconian measures of the National Conservative Party.
Laubscher remembers his first meeting with Bouscharain “My favorite story is when Claude came over there (Académie Montmartre) around August 1950, after the summer holidays and I thought ‘Jy!’ this is a beautiful chick, that one! He assumed she was French and approached her, intending to show off his best French. Bouscharain, however, had been studying in the United States for two years and answered him in impeccable English. “Claude was a very interesting full-fledged painter, completely different from me. In South Africa, his work has undergone many changes. It moved away from the slightly surrealistic elements, ”he says of his wife’s style.
6 Place Cheviot
After Paris, the couple moved to Cape Town. Their home at 6 Cheviot Place, Green Point, was a hub for artists, writers and all kinds of characters from Cape Town’s bohemian and protest circles. Writer Abraham H De Vries described it as “a meeting place for anyone who could donate a pen or a brush”.
The who’s who of the Cape intelligentsia and members of the so-called “Sestiger” literary movement met there regularly – Breyten Breytenbach, Adam Small, Ingrid Jonker, Jack Cope, and later key political figures in the struggle such as the judge Albie Sachs. De Vries described Laubscher as a human person – the calm eye of the storm in this charming “tame asylum” of wild creativity. “He could always offer a practical remark or opinion, no matter how esoteric the subject got.”
What only became normal after 1994 in South Africa was already part of the daily life of the Laubscher house in the 1950s suburb of Cape Town.
Francesca Gayraud-Laubscher, daughter of Erik and Claude, remembers a colored man named Kenny Parker, who regularly visited their home. “He used to pick me up and swing me.” She also remembers the visits of the African writer and academic Richard Rive. “He was a black man with big round eyes, who wrote books and had the whitest smile ever. Neighbors told us that we weren’t really allowed to have “non-European” friends coming to our house, but nobody really did anything about it, unless they were having parties. Then the police would sometimes call.
Focus on Laubcher and Boucherain
Laubscher went through many stylistic phases. The sale includes two copies of his still lifes from the School of Paris produced shortly after his return to the country in 1951. The recto-verso composition Still life with papaya / Still life with lemons (estimate R1.4 – 1.6 million) confirms Walter Battiss de Laubscher’s description as a “convincing” painter capable of “painting large canvases with satisfactory confidence”. Still life with fruits and a blue pitcher highlights the enjoyment and vigor with which Laubscher approached his paintings. “We can observe the strong influence of European modernists in these works”, explains Jean le Clus-Theron, Senior Art Specialist at Strauss & Co. le Clus-Theron goes on to explain “when we observe auction records, and prices than his work from this period done in past auctions, you realize that Laubscher’s work from this period is immensely in demand.
Collectors also appreciate the latest landscapes of Cap de Laubscher. The sale includes three representative works of the late period produced between 1998 and 2002. Dorre Landskap, Klein Karoo (estimate R350,000 – 500,000) and Storm clouds near Prince Albert (estimate R300,000 – 400,000) reveal Laubscher’s attraction to grandiose panoramas and his architectural understanding of space. Summer dawn near Laingsburg (estimate R160,000 – 200,000) shows Laubscher’s unwavering passion for color.
Strauss & Co will present two works by Bouscharain. Completed in 1969, Adam and Eve driven from the Garden of Eden (estimate R40,000 – 60,000) is a surprisingly modern and geometric interpretation of the biblical parable of exile. Dated 1981, In the morning (estimate R50,000 – 70,000) is a bacchanal study of a couple of swimmers, perhaps Laubscher and Bouscharain, toasting the new day with red wine.