£1.2M (R20 million) 'Malay Bride' makes Irma Stern's Birthday at Bonhams in London

The South African Sale
2 Oct 2013
London, New Bond Street

A stunning painting by Irma Stern, titled 'The Malay Bride' achieved £1,202,500 (R19,630,500) yesterday (Oct 2nd) in London at Bonhams South African Art sale. The auction was held on the artist's birthday.

The top three pictures were all by Stern. The sale made a total of £3,218,428 (R52,482,936) for some 128 works of art, and three new world records were set. The sale confirmed the strength of the market for South African art in London, with South African and international bidders competing furiously for the lots on offer.

Giles Peppiatt, Director of South African art at Bonhams, comments: "It is not surprising that this picture attracted the amount of interest that it did, even though it cannot be exported from South Africa. She is one of Stern's great masterpieces and although, due to SAHRA's export ban, she jilted us at the altar for the sale here in London, all eyes were on her fate at the auction. 'The Malay Bride' is something of a mystery. The face and clothes provide clues as to who she might be—a bride, beautiful and dignified, ceremoniously formal—but her character is cloaked in vivid colours, textures, and sketchy brushwork. Therein lies her charm."

Alfred Neville Lewis' 'Portrait of a young African lady wearing a blue shawl', Dumile Feni-Mhlaba's 'Applause', and Frederick Hutchison Page's 'All the long tomorrows' all sold for world record prices. Gerard Sekoto's 'Girl with guitar' also made a world record for one of the artist's post-exile works. Other artists whose works appeared in the top ten of the sale include Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, Stanley Pinker, and Vladimir Tretchikoff.

For further information and images call Chloe Ashby on 0207 468 5870, or email chloe.ashby@bonhams.com or press@bonhams.com.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

  1. Giles Peppiatt
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8355
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5839

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