Irma Stern’s Malay Bride makes $1.9m among South African art


2015-06-26 13:27:24


Irma Sterns Malay Bride makes $1.9m among South African art

Irma Sterns Malay Bride led Bonhams South African art sale on October 2

Irma stern's Malay Bride (1942) was the top lot of Bonhams' South African sale on October 2 achieving 1.2m ($1.9m). The artist held the top threespots at the auction, cementing her reputation as one of South Africa's most popular painters.

The work was produced in the 1940s and shows a member of Cape Town's Malay community in a wedding headdress.

Malay Bride SternThe Malay Bride grew out of Stern's fascination with Islam

Giles Peppiatt, director of South African art at Bonhams, commented before 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."

Still Life with Amaryllis (1940), another Stern painting, made 326,500 ($529,786). The artist was known for her vibrant and sensual still-life painting, often described as among the best modern examples of the genre.

Malay Girl with Fruit (1949) features a simple but sophisticated use of bold and vibrant blocks of colour, andthe piece dates to an era that many consider the high point of Stern's artistic output. It made 182,500 ($296,105).

Other artists that performed well at the auction included Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, one of South Africa's best loved landscape painters, whose Wheatfields Near Stellenbosch, painted circa 1925-1936, achieved 86,500 ($140,331).

Gerard Seketo's Girl with Guitar, painted during a period of exile in Paris, achieved an identical price.

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