Still life with leaves, fruit and flowers signed and dated 'Irma Stern / 1945' (lower left) oil on canvas 65 x 56cm (25 9/16 x 22 1/16in). within original Zanzibar frame
PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the artist, June 1965 The Jaffe collection A private collection
Stern's 1945 trip to Zanzibar had a dramatic influence on her work. The exoticism of Islam, coupled with the heady sensuality of the Spice Island, was a potent mix and imbued her oeuvre with a lasciviousness found only in these paintings.
In her 1945 publication Zanzibar, Stern emphasises this nature of her subjects and the sexuality of her portraits such as Arab Youth 1945 is plain to for all to see.
This repressed appetite is seen clearly in the current still life. The glossy foliage glistens with a tropical sheen and the fecundity of the fruit, swelling with ripeness, all hint at the excitement she felt in Zanzibar. As she says in her book: "The air was quivering with joy of being alive".
A similar work, Still life: Fruit and Leaves, 1945, is illustrated in M. Arnold, Irma Stern: A feast for the eye, (Vlaeberg, 1995), p.139.