Here is a typical Walt Disney story of rejection being the springboard to later success. Erik Laubscher is one such example. As he attempted to enrol himself for further studies in art he was rejected, with the words “you can’t draw to save your life”. His next stop was the well-known Belgian artist, Maurice van Essche, new art school. As they say, “the rest is history.”
Best known as Erik, Frederik Bester Howard Laubscher was born on 3 February 1927 in Tulbagh, in the Cape. Attending Pinelands Junior School, Laubscher developed an interest in art during the 40s, almost the same time at which Maurice van Essche moved to Cape Town. After being rejected by the highly esteemed Michaelis School of Fine Art, he coincidentally met up with van Essche for private art lessons.
It was on his mentor’s recommendation that he went to study in London and set foot on English soil just after the end of World War II. During this time he learnt from people like Frank Slater and Fernand Léger. The latter having a decisive influence on his work as an artist. Laubscher briefly returned home to enjoy some home-made cooking, but in 1950 he moved to Paris to further his studies at the Académie Montmartre. This move changed his life in more ways than one. He fell in love with Claude Bouscharainm at the Academie Montmartre. The couple got married in Cape Town a short while later in his home country.
He had now come a long way since being rejected by Michaelis and the years that lay ahead would set the stage for a very successful career of art.