Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966) Zanzibar Street Scene

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 53
Irma Stern
(South African, 1894-1966)
Zanzibar Street Scene

Sold for £ 50,000 (US$ 62,945) inc. premium
Irma Stern (South African, 1894-1966)
Zanzibar Street Scene
signed and dated 'Irma Stern/ 1939' (lower left)
gouache
41 x 35cm (16 1/8 x 13 3/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Purchased by a private collector, Cape Town.
    By direct descent to current owner, 1994.


    This watercolour was executed during Stern's first visit to Zanzibar in 1939. The artist had been an inveterate traveler since adolescence. Her frequent journeys to the Continent came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of the Second World War. She was forced to satisfy her wanderlust within Africa, traveling first to Zanzibar and then to the Congo. The war years, 1939 to 1945, are widely considered Stern's finest period. The landscapes and peoples she encountered on her excursions appealed to her romantic fascination with the exotic, and stimulated a creative outburst.

    The sights, sounds and smells in Zanzibar made such an impression on Stern that she was moved to document her experiences in writing. The text, titled Zanzibar, was published in Pretoria in 1948. An extract demonstrates her sensual appreciation of the island. She described a street stall thus:

    "small vivid blue fish with yellow stripes, silvery kinds, red roman, enormous lobsters as made of turquoise matrix, phantastic (sic) huge turtles - all came out of the tropical sea. The stall had a daily surprise of strange kinds of fruit and vegetables. A pale yellow grapefruit called ballunga intrigued me. When I opened it the flesh was a lovely pink embedded in a heavy woollen white...there is a variety of bananas, small yellow, large green, as long as a man's forearm...gourds and pumpkins - thin green shaky looking marrows, minute limes..."

    This gouache depicts just such a market. Terracotta vessels are laid out on a table in the lower left corner. The vendor in the foreground wears a vibrant yellow robe. The bright colours and flowing brushstrokes communicate a similar sensuousness to the breathy excess of Stern's textual description. However, the street is relatively quiet, as the market winds down for the day.

    Bibliography
    N. Dubow, Irma Stern, (Cape Town, 1974), pp.18-19.
    I. Stern, Zanzibar, (Pretoria, 1948).
Contacts
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £2,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £3,000,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.