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Lot 209
Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966) 'Pondo Mother and Child'
Sold for £192,000 (US$ 324,995) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966)
'Pondo Mother and Child'
signed and dated 'Irma Stern / 1941' (lower right); bears exhibition label to stretcher (verso)
oil on canvas
76 x 76cm (29 15/16 x 29 15/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Acquired from the Grosvenor Gallery exhibition by the current owner

    EXHIBITED:
    London, Grosvenor Gallery, Irma Stern Memorial Exhibition, 14 March - 15 April 1967, no.40


    For most of the 1920s and 30s, the recognition that Stern enjoyed in the European art world was in strong contrast to her reception in South Africa. She was prone to depression and so escaped to Swaziland, Pondoland and Namaqualand and as she responded to the places and people her style became more representational.

    Stern was fascinated and stimulated by the exotic nature of Africa and its people, and while changing attitudes have come to question this, it should be compared to the inspiration Gauguin found in painting the people of Polynesia. But, crucially, part of the strength of Stern's images derived from her feeling of belonging in Africa, not from just being a visiting observer. Drawing upon her training in Germany which encouraged such sensual imagery, she fed her own feelings and emotions into the paintings so that they were more than just personal representations.

    Stern recognised beauty in people, landscape or cultural artefacts and her drawn and painted images reveal a deep commitment to the transformative power of image-making. She took her subjects as the starting point for drawings and paintings that follow the modernist preoccupation with medium, method and formal language. Her subjects are personalised by their poise, glance and dress; as a result they have a sense of identity that is both individual and ethnic.

    Similar subjects include Portrait of a Pondo Woman, 1929 and Portrait of a Pondo Girl, 1939, both sold in these rooms on 30 January 2008.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the provenance should read PROVENANCE: The collection of the artist Acquired from the Grosvenor Gallery exhibition by the current owner
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