Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966) Zanzibar Garden within original Zanzibar hardwood frame
Lot 45*
Irma Stern
(South African, 1894-1966)
Zanzibar Garden within original Zanzibar hardwood frame
£200,000 - 300,000
US$ 330,000 - 490,000

Lot Details
Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966) Zanzibar Garden within original Zanzibar hardwood frame
Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966)
Zanzibar Garden
oil on canvas
71 x 71cm (27 15/16 x 27 15/16in).
within original Zanzibar hardwood frame

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The collection of Mrs Lily Cohen.
    A private collection.


    Irma Stern first visited Zanzibar in 1939. Her second visit in 1945 was prompted by a desire for new artistic material. She noted in her letters that she was "conquering new ground for my work and development. I am painting dramatic pictures, compositions and faces".

    Mona Berman describes Stern's works of this period as "explosions of vibrant colour". Zanzibar Garden is just that. The edges of the picture can barely contain the riotous, lush foliage. The hardwood frame, with its motif of carved leaves, adds to the impression of overspilling vegetation.

    The exuberant greens, yellows and reds of the natural world are balanced by the more subdued peach and ochre tones of the surrounding architecture. Stern was unusually sensitive to her environs. She wrote in her diary that the Zanzibar landscape was "heavy with heat". The present lot with its dense foliage crowded into the shallow picture plane, communicates the physical impact the country had on the artist.

    Stern's Zanzibar works are among her most sought after. The frame greatly enhances the appeal of the picture, assembled by the artist from the region's traditional carved wooden doors. As Marion Arnold suggests, "these decorative carvings, with their rhythmic repeat patterns, provide the sculptural foil to [Stern's] organic pictorial designs".

    Bibliography
    M. Arnold, Irma Stern: A Feast for the Eye, Vlaeberg, 1995, p.50.
    M. Berman, Remembering Irma, Cape Town, 2003, p. 97; p.81.
    I. Stern, Zanzibar, Pretoria, 1948, p.18.
Auction information

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  1. Elizabeth Callinicos
    Specialist - South African Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8216
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