Laubscher, Erik (Frederik Bester Howard) (1927 – )
Erik Laubscher was born in 1927 in Tulbach, Cape Province. Laubscher had his earliest training under the Belgian
teacher, Maurice van Essche, from 1946 – 1947. He later studied in London and Paris under John Minton, Claude
Venard and Fernand Leger respectively. Laubscher shared the desire of many youthful South African artists of the
post World War II years to keep abreast of developments abroad from which they had been severed for many
He brought back the methods and teaching styles of French painting to Cape Town, where he has always lived.
One of Laubscher’s teachers, Fernand Leger who used simplified, geometrical, outlined, machine-like forms
celebrated the industrial achievements of the 20th century. Laubscher was deeply impressed by these, as he
was by Leger’s unexpected and contrasting fields of colour, and he absorbed these elements into his own work,
especially into his favourite subject, landscape. Despite changes over the years, Laubscher’s landscapes are
usually stark interpretations of the emptier vistas of the South Western Cape Province.
Laubscher describe his aim toward expanding composition as follow: “In South Africa the landmass is sharply
defined against the sky, making two separate elements. We are engulfed in light, very much aware of space, and
the continuity of the land which extends beyond our vision. What I am trying to achieve is to create the illusion
of the landscape having continuing vastness and the painting being part of the whole, instead of being something
complete and contained.”