Important South African and International Art

Live Auction, 1 June 2015

Evening Sale: Important South African and International Art

Sold for

ZAR 1 023 120
Lot 215
  • Irma Stern; Still Life with a Vase of Pomegranates

Lot Estimate
ZAR 1 000 000 - 1 500 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 1 023 120

About this Item

South African 1894-1966
Still Life with a Vase of Pomegranates

signed and dated 1948

oil on canvas
49,5 by 36cm excluding frame


Painted in the late 1940s when Irma Stern was, by critical consensus, at the height of her career, this delightful painting is an example of Stern at her best. It bears the hallmarks of a mature artist sure of her medium. Paint is confidently applied in fluid brushstrokes that trace shapes and build three-dimensional forms.

Pomegranates, ranging in colours from green to ripe orange and rich red, vibrate against the vivid lemon background and turquoise neck of the jar. With its brownish slip and heavy copper-green glaze, the vase was one of her favourites and features in several of her still life paintings. It is, in all likelihood, the Chinese jar which Stern acquired for her own collection and which is currently in the UCT Irma Stern Museum (catalogue number 534).

The framed work to the right of the vase is quite possibly a German illuminated manuscript. It formed part of the consignment from her collection which was sold at auction after her death and is described in the catalogue as one of ‘two framed pages of early German printing with coloured illustrations’.1

The painting’s subject – fruits and beautiful objets arranged in a pleasing composition – bears testimony to her fine eye, appreciation of culture and enjoyment of both the aesthetic and sensuous pleasure of food. It is perhaps not surprising then that the artist selected it as a gift for a special friend – Professor Joachim Rosteutscher who was professor of German at the University of Cape Town.

I am indebted to Christopher Peter of the UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, for his assistance in identifying objects in this painting.
1. Twenty-Eight Oil Paintings by Irma Stern, Gouaches & Drawings, Antique Furniture and Objet d’Art, Ashbeys Galleries, 19 April 1968, item 82. Page 5.


A gift from the artist to the current owner's father

View all Irma Stern lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Irma Stern; Mother and Children
Irma Stern
Mother and Children
ZAR 90 000 - 120 000
Irma Stern; Figure on the Beach
Irma Stern
Figure on the Beach
ZAR 18 000 - 24 000
Irma Stern; Group of Arabs
Irma Stern
Group of Arabs
ZAR 200 000 - 300 000
Irma Stern; Watussi Woman
Irma Stern
Watussi Woman
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Irma Stern; Verdant Landscape
Irma Stern
Verdant Landscape
ZAR 250 000 - 350 000
Irma Stern; Still Life with Roses
Irma Stern
Still Life with Roses
ZAR 4 000 000 - 6 000 000