A selection of paintings establishing Irma Stern as a leading Modernist painter and, furthermore, as an intrepid collector of top quality African art, will be offered at Strauss & Co's 21 October 2013 auction at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town.
Stern’s 1923 painting, Composition (estimated at R9 000 000 – 12 000 000), confirms the South African-born artist’s close links with German Expressionist artists, says Emma Bedford, Senior Art Specialist at Strauss & Co. founding member of the revolutionary Novembergruppe and in 1919 had her first featured exhibition at Gurlitt Gallery, Berlin’s most prominent art salon.
Composition encapsulates Stern’s visualisation of an African paradise. The central figure, a young woman with beaded hair cocooned in a flame-coloured orange cloak, was inspired by Stern’s visit to Umgababa in 1922. The young girl at left reclines with her eyes closed as if dreaming while the child holds a yellow butterfly in one hand and a bunch of grapes in the other. Surrounded by Proteas bursting through green foliage that frames glimpses of the mountains and ocean beyond, all are contained in a shallow space which, pressed against the picture plane, owes much to the development of early Modernism that Stern encountered during her years in Berlin.
The Vineyard Hotel, Newlands
Colinton Road (off Protea Road)
Friday 18 to Sunday 20 October 10am to 5pm
Source: Strauss & Co Fine Art Auctioneers