Irma Stern paintings expected to ensure high prices

Irma Stern paintings expected to ensure high prices

By Yazeed Kamaldien

January 23 2012 at 12:49pm

WORKS by Irma Stern featuring a Zulu woman and another of a woman dressed in a sari are expected to fetch millions at an auction in London in March.

London auction house Bonhams this weekend wrapped up its catalogue of local artwork for the annual auction.

Giles Peppiatt, director for South African art at Bonhams, said in Cape Town that Stern’s work continued to remain in high demand on the international art scene.

Last March, her painting Arab Priest fetched about R34 million, while previously her Bahora Girl was sold for about R25.5m.

Peppiatt said Bonham’s Stern paintings for the March auction were estimated to fetch between R6m and R15m apiece.

He said Stern’s most valuable works date from 1945, when she painted a series of portraits in Zanzibar. The South African artist, born to German parents, died in 1966.

Peppiatt said Zulu Woman, painted in 1935, should fetch up to R7.2m.

“Stern didn’t paint Zulus often. It’s current because Zuma is president and he is a Zulu. It is also important to see how South African heritage is sold at auctions,” he said.

He sourced Zulu Woman from its owner in the US.

The Pink Sari, painted in 1947, is expected to fetch R14.5m. Peppiatt said the painting was among some of the Stern paintings from her Zanzibar sojourn.

Works painted during that time are worth more if they are still in the original frames, and some of Bonhams works are in the originals.

“She was a terrible vandal. She got these Zanzibar doors and sliced them up to make wooden frames. You can’t export these doors from Zanzibar now. They did provide the most exquisite frames. That adds enormous value,” he said.

“Her most valuable works were painted when she went to Zanzibar in 1945. This work is the most valuable works sold by a South African artist.”

Peppiatt said his search for SA art for two annual Bonhams auctions took him to Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the US: “Many people want to take advantage of the high prices in London.”


Tags: , , ,

About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: