Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966) Summer Morning in Madeira

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Lot 39
Irma Stern
(South African, 1894-1966)
Summer Morning in Madeira

£ 80,000 - 120,000
US$ 110,000 - 160,000
Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966)
Summer Morning in Madeira
signed and dated 'Irma Stern 1950' (upper left)
oil on board
62 x 49.5cm (24 7/16 x 19 1/2in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Collection of Mr. Victor Rubens.
    Donated to Ben Uri Gallery & Museum, 1997.

    Exhibited
    Somerset House, London, Out of Chaos: Ben Uri 100 Years in London, 2 July to 13 December 2015.


    Despite being born in the Transvaal in South Africa, Stern's German-Jewish ancestry profoundly influenced her art. The Stern family retained strong ties with Berlin and its artistic culture, frequently traveling to the Continent during Irma's childhood. She moved to Germany in 1913 to study with the respected Expressionist painter, Max Pechstein. She exhibited alongside German Secessionist artists in 1918 and 1920. In May 1919, Stern held her first solo exhibition at the Fritz Gurlitt Gallery in Berlin, before returning to South Africa in 1920.

    Back in Cape Town, Stern's 'modern' aesthetic received harsh criticism by the conservative art establishment. Her first exhibition in South Africa in 1922 was condemned as indecent. However, over the following decades Stern gradually won over her critics. By 1960, she had represented South Africa at four consecutive Venice Biennials. Today, she is considered the doyen of South African modern art.

    Summer Morning in Madeira was executed late in her career. Poor health and reduced mobility meant that she largely restricted her travel to Europe in the 1950s. The bright colour palette and broad, gestural brushstrokes are characteristic of her late style.
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