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 268 800
Lot 42
  • Irma Stern; Girl in White Veil
  • Irma Stern; Girl in White Veil
  • Irma Stern; Girl in White Veil

Lot Estimate
ZAR 180 000 - 240 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 268 800

About this Item

South African 1894-1966
Girl in White Veil

signed and dated 1945

pastel on paper
74,5 by 50,5cm excluding frame


Drawing was fundamental to Stern’s output. It was a means to record direct encounter, both in her studio as well as in the field. It frequently provided the basic armature for more ambitious painted works, but Stern also produced a number of drawings – in pencil, ink, chalk, conté and pastel – that were fully-realized compositions. This wonderful pastel drawing of a veiled woman captures Stern’s instinctual and assured use of line and raw mark to evoke her sitter. Unlike the notational drawings appearing in her artists’ book Zanzibar (1948), this work is a
complete statement.

Veils recur in Stern’s depictions of Muslim women in Cape Town and Zanzibar. “In this Eastern world the woman has no rights,” writes Stern in Zanzibar. “They run about like ghosts, black, with their Jashmak [headscarf, from Turkish yashmak] covering their faces and bodies. Each nation of the East has a different way of hiding their females.”1

In 1946, Stern presented a comprehensive showcase of her drawings at I.D. Booksellers’ Gallery in Cape Town. The 60 works included works from Madeira, Belgian Congo, Cape Town (of Cape Muslims), as well as black conté and ink wash drawings from her second trip to Zanzibar in 1945. The exhibition included works on brown paper. “In these drawings the artist has wasted neither time nor line in saying what she wants to say,” reported The Argus. “It is direct and forceful work … Her work, whether with pen or pencil or brush, goes on to the paper to stay.”2

1. Irma Stern (1948) Zanzibar, Pretoria: JL van Schaik Limited, page 45.
2. — (1946) “Exhibition for Connoisseurs”, Cape Argus, 9 October.


The Irma Stern Trust Collection, accession number 861.

View all Irma Stern lots for sale in this auction

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