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 Freida Lock  (1902 - 1962)

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Lived/Active: Africa      Known for: painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Stephan Welz & Co Johannesburg:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Freida Lock's career as artist was always a tumultuous one from the start, her parents were opposed to her studying art and becoming an artist. Unusually for the time, she then began an agricultural degree, which was cut short as the family moved from England to South Africa in 1920.  After unsuccessfully trying her hand at various other career paths, she eventually followed her desire and went to England to study art at the age of 30 on the advice of friend Gregoire Boonzaier.  During her art studies in London in the early 1930's she focused on painting and printmaking and was able to frequent the great museums and galleries where the works of the Post-Impressionists, in particular Van Gogh and Cezanne, left a lasting impression on her.

She returned to South Africa and became a founding member of the `New Group` in 1938. This group was dedicated to raising artistic standards, facilitating artistic expression and improving the marketing of their works at sale.  It was a great success, and for fifteen years it organised successful exhibitions and fostered enviable standards of work.  But by 1953 dissent was prevalent among its members and the grouping disbanded.  Gregoire Boonzaier said at that time: "It is not presumptuous to state that virtually every prominent artist owes his or her position today largely to the `New Group`, and that younger artists owe a debt of gratitude to the members of that courageous group of artists who made art history in South Africa during these few years."

Lock, through her founding of the `New Group` was very much at the centre of the artistic community in Cape Town, and her house at 71 Bree Street was used by Maurice van Essche as a school for life classes that attracted artists such as Lippy Lipschitz, Gregoire Boonzaier, Cecil Higgs, George Enslin and Piet van Heerden.  Although the classes were moved to Long Street after about six months, artists continued to use the house as a place to meet and socialise. Freida Lock's vitality and sympathetic nature drew people to her, and the parties she held at Bree Street, particularly during the war years, were legendary and attracted a broad cross section of society. I.L.

Edited from: Bedford, E, "Freida Lock", in Our Art 4, 1993, The Foundation of Education, Science and Technology, Pretoria, pages 35, 40

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