Marianne Podlashuc emigrated from Holland just after the Second World War and settled in Bloemfontein, where she met her husband-to-be, Alexander. The two painters became a celebrated pair who collaborated with Father Frans Claerhout, Eben van der Merwe, Renee le Roux and Rosemary Budler to form the core of what became known as the Bloemfontein Group in 1958. The Bloemfontein Group served as an inspiration for many aspiring artists in the Free State. Marianne’s early stylistic conventions drew from her experiences in America where she encountered the works of Ben Shahn and other regional painters who focused on local subject matter and the societal collapse among the poor in America’s major cities. Marianne’s paintings from the 1960s to the 1980s reflected similar concerns when she painted the people and places of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
The Weather Cock is an exaggerated view of Cape Town from the Tamboers- kloof home she and Alexander shared. You would imagine the depiction was of somewhere in Durbanville, but it is, of course, the privilege of the artist to bend and adapt visual reality to emphasise the experience of looking. The painting also exhibits a humorous side, with the exaggerated size of the weathercock that needs to be installed on the apex of the roof, which looks far too small and sharp.
Stefan Hundt is the Curator at the Sanlam Art Collection.