Madeira rooftops signed and dated 'Irma Stern 1931' (lower right) gouache 37.4 x 49cm (14 3/4 x 19 5/16in).
PROVENANCE: The collection of Mr and Mrs Michael Berger of Kenilworth Thence by descent to the current owner
The 1930s were an emotionally turbulent time for Irma Stern. In 1931 she escaped to Madeira, an island she had encountered briefly on her sea voyages, where she spent three months painting and considered the troubled state of her marriage to Dr Johannes Prinz. The Madeiran way of life would certainly have brought back memories of her Portuguese lover Hippolyto Raposo.
"Madeira, to me a wordless concept of earliest delights. Sun and bright colours and beautiful children with big, dark eyes. Flowers covering the walls of the brightly-coloured houses. Childhood memories, and yet they are somehow so firmly anchored in the blood that the words one day ripened like a slow, creeping fever. I had to go to Madeira." (the artist as quoted in Arnold, 1995, p.20)
It was in Madeira that Stern completed paintings that were significant milestones in her struggle to discover her first language: the visual language of colour.
The present lot is comparable with Madeira, offered in these rooms on 18 February 2009, lot 12.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Arnold, Irma Stern: A feast for the eye, (Vlaeberg, 1995)