|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
Vegetarian World Forum
THE WORK OF KARL ADOLF LAUBSCHER
FROM the quiet and charming town of Thun in Switzerland, the road takes a picturesque run along the enticing waters of the Thunersee. On the northern shore, midway between Thun and Intertaken lies Gunten, where we change to the local bus that grinds its twisting way up to the mountain village of Sigriswil.
Before we make our call the surrounding scenery commands our attention, for on the opposite side of the lake the triangular form of the Niesen dominates the landscape, while away to the south-east the mountain trinity of Liger, Mönch and Jungfrau lift their snowy peaks to breast the clouds. This is surely a fitting place to find the home and studio of an artist whose work will endure to become appreciated by all humanitarians.
The door is opened by the lady who carries out the collective duty of wife, secretary and devoted admirer of Karl Adolf Laubscher. The artist responds like a child, quickly and warmly, to an interest in his work and frame after frame is taken from its rack for the appraisal and comments of the visitor. The oft repeated motif is the gazelle, and these mild-eyed and graceful creatures either float through space like a fleeting thought or stand serenely poised on slender legs that merge into a single stem rising from the ground to show the unity of life between plant and animal.
Another picture shows a small and delicate deer poised on one corner of a massive rock that would crash into the depths were it not for the balance being maintained by the sylph-like creature. Such eloquent lessons are to be found in most of Laubseber's creations.
His groups of animals, either featuring the evolution of life through progressive stages or depicting their common burden of martyrdom to man, are more dramatic and reveal the artist's keen ability to sense the feeling of his subjects as well as see the harmonic blending of their forms.
Laubscher's amazing restraint reminds one of the highest in Chinese art and leads to a twofold appreciation of his genius, first for what is in the picture and secondly for what is left out.
Again the flowing lines or the turn of an animal's head carry the eye to a point outside the picture, which, like the ending of a parable, is left to the imagination.
To repeat the story all too frequently found in history, Karl Laubscher
is almost unknown outside his own limited area, but his life, now in its
evening, could have a fairy story flavour if a good selection of his paintings
could be on view at the World Vegetarian Congress in Paris next year,
for these are pictures that would appeal to those who acknowledge the
one-ness of life, who follow the way of non-hurtfulness and who accept
the responsibility of guardianship over the sub-human kingdom.
Before this all too brief visit ended I was shown the original small metal plate on which Karl Laubscher had beaten out his first gazelle's head, the forerunner of an endless herd, and was told a story by Mrs. Laubseher of an incident at a recent exhibition of her husband's work in Switzerland.
Two workmen came to see the pictures, one diminutive and self-assured, the other a burly porter of Herculean dimensions. After making the rounds the little fellow dismissed it all with "Can't understand this stuff." His massive companion turned on him and with an air of mixed scorn and pity said "Listen mate, every one of those pictures is a prayer."
I preferred to walk down the mountain road after this experience, elevated in more ways than one, holding most carefully under my arm the first Laubscher picture destined to come to England - a thoughtful and generous gift from this artist of deep sensitivity and his kindly wife. Naturally my thoughts turned on Laubscher and his work. Here is a man who can both plumb the depths of primitive feeling and reach the heights of the visionary, surely an example and encouragement to us all and, moreover, a sure indication that the clearer the spiritual perception the more does one feel a sense of affinity to the lowlier forms of creation.
[Below are som poor quality scans of photocopies of b/w prints....
but they give an indication of Laubscher's style]