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 295 880
Lot 89
  • Irma Stern; Figures in Archway
  • Irma Stern; Figures in Archway
  • Irma Stern; Figures in Archway


Lot Estimate
ZAR 120 000 - 160 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 295 880

About this Item

South African 1894-1966
Figures in Archway

signed and dated 1954

gouache and pastel on paper
61 by 49cm excluding frame; 66 by 53,5 by 2,5cm including frame

Notes

In 1955, the South African National Gallery in Cape Town hosted the exhibition African and Christian Sculpture from the Irma Stern Collection. Accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by museum director John Paris, the exhibition highlighted two pivotal characteristics of Stern’s evolving life and work: art collecting and religious iconography. Stern’s collecting practices, argues Canadian scholar Lara Bourdin, were “inseparable from her quest for spiritual energy and creative stimuli.”1 Stern surrounded herself with religious iconography throughout her adult life. Already in the early 1920s she slept beneath two wooden Christian figures in prayer and kept a menorah on her shelf and small, crying jade Buddha figure on her night table.

Stern, an assimilated Jew who considered converting to Catholicism in her later years, frequently depicted the impact of Christianity and Islam on women, notably in her portraits from Cape Town, Madeira and Zanzibar. Following the resumption of her European travels in 1947, her work more explicitly featured motifs drawn from European Christian art. The 1950s especially saw her produce a number of paintings and works on paper revealing her close observation of especially premodern Christian painting. These works, writes Marion Arnold, divulged her need for spiritual fulfilment in art rather than religious practice itself.2


1. Lara Bourdin (2013) The Sculpture of Irma Stern (1922–1955). Unpublished Master’s thesis, Université de Montréal, page 200.
2. Marion Arnold (1995) Irma Stern: A Feast for the Eye, Stellenbosch & Cape Town: Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation & Fernwood Press, page 21.

Provenance

The Irma Stern Trust Collection, accession number 1070.

View all Irma Stern lots for sale in this auction



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