Harbour view, Marseilles signed and dated 'Irma Stern / 1963' (lower left) oil on canvas 55.5 x 70.7cm (21 7/8 x 27 13/16in).
Stern was very fond of painting boats and harbour scenes on her travels in Europe and Africa throughout her career, often choosing accommodations with views over harbours where she could indulge her fascination for their lines and colours. In 1961 Stern wrote from the Mediterranean:
"Palms grow - dates even get ripe - the sea is blue and the sun shines hard... the rest of Europe is in snow and fog and ice - that is why we are here for such a long time. Nothing happens here very much and if I do not work I feel darned bored - but we live in a very good hotel opposite the harbour - we have a sea view from two large windows - I have turned the sitting room into a studio."
In 1963 she stayed at the Hotel Mediterranée in Cannes, again overlooking a harbour. She ventured out almost daily on drives along the coast seeking subject matter, where it is likely she found the inspiration for the present view of Marseilles. The distinctive white outline of the nineteenth century Romanesque style Cathédrale de la Major in Marseilles can be seen on the left of the work.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Berman, Remembering Irma, Irma Stern: A memoir with letters, (Cape Town, 2003), p.143