Irma Stern: Time|Line

Live Virtual Auction, 8 June 2022

Irma Stern: Time|Line
About the Session
Irma Stern: Time | Line is a single-artist sale of 140 lots devoted to this illustrious artist. The lots on offer range from oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, etchings, ceramics and books and are presented chronologically, featuring works made in every decade from 1920 until the artist’s death in 1966.
The auction includes 124 artworks from the Irma Stern Trust Collection. Proceeds from the sale of these works will benefit the Irma Stern Trust Collection, housed in the much-loved Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town. Income derived from the sale will strengthen the Irma Stern Trust Collection for the future by preserving the core collection and making it accessible by developing the existing Irma Stern Trust website into an important research resource. 

Sold for

ZAR 1 008 000
Lot 11
  • Irma Stern; Woman Carrying Pot
  • Irma Stern; Woman Carrying Pot
  • Irma Stern; Woman Carrying Pot
  • Irma Stern; Woman Carrying Pot
  • Irma Stern; Woman Carrying Pot

Lot Estimate
ZAR 400 000 - 600 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 1 008 000

About this Item

South African 1894-1966
Woman Carrying Pot

signed and dated 1927

charcoal on paper
152 by 55,5cm excluding frame; 175 by 76,5 by 3cm including frame


Stern would spend much of the 1920’s travelling throughout South Africa, with visits to Umgababa in Kwa-Zulu Natal in 1922, Swaziland in 1927 and Pondoland in 1929 providing the inspiration for her work of this period.
Between these early voyages of discovery, she would again visit Europe in 1924, exhibiting at the Empire Exhibition in London and receiving the Prix d’Honneur at the Bordeaux International exhibition.
Stern would purchase The Firs in her own name in 1927, before travelling for a third and final time to Swaziland at the end of the year.1 This portrait of a Woman Carrying a
Pot was presumably executed in the region of the Ezulwini Valley where Stern stayed during October and November of 1927.
During this visit she was invited by the Swazi King, Sobhuza II, to attend a traditional dance at the Royal Kraal in Ludzidzini, some 10 kilometres away from where she was
This elongated rendition in charcoal reveals Stern’s preference for the large narrow format that can be seen in a number of the oil paintings from the period. Her figures here are often sleek and stylised, but illustrate the immediacy of Stern’s hand coupled with her acute skills of translating her pictorial observations. Possibly one of her largest charcoals ever executed, the
figure, partially draped in cloth, carries a traditional vessel atop her head, presumably for purposes of consuming beer during the festivities at the Kraal of King Sobhuza II.
1. Marion Arnold (1995) Irma Stern: A Feast for the Eye, Vlaeberg: Fernwood, page 19.
2. Clive Kellner (2012) Representations of the Black Subject in Irma Stern’s African Periods: Swaziland, Zanzibar and Congo 1922–1955, University of Cape Town, unpublished MA dissertation, page 31.


The Irma Stern Trust Collection, accession number 730.


Andrea Lewis (2006) Journeys to the interior, Unseen Works by Irma Stern 1929-1939, Cape Town: Kaplan Kushlick Foundation, illustrated in colour on centre fold out pages.

View all Irma Stern lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Irma Stern; Three Women (On a Balcony)
Irma Stern
Three Women (On a Balcony)
ZAR 60 000 - 80 000
Irma Stern; Figures
Irma Stern
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Irma Stern; Two Figures
Irma Stern
Two Figures
ZAR 15 000 - 20 000
Irma Stern; Boats
Irma Stern
ZAR 35 000 - 50 000
Irma Stern; Woman
Irma Stern
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Irma Stern; Harvesters
Irma Stern
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000