Alderfer Auction to feature South African artist Irma Stern at upcoming Fine & Decorative Arts Sale.

Alderfer Auction to feature South African artist Irma Stern at upcoming Fine & Decorative Arts Sale.

Irma stern

Alderfer Auction to feature South African artist Irma Stern at upcoming Fine & Decorative Arts Sale.

Hatfield, PA – Alderfer Auction to feature South African artist Irma Stern at upcoming Fine & Decorative Arts Sale. Irma Stern (1894-1966) was born to German Jewish parents in South Africa, but spent much of her youth in Germany, where she also studied art. A versatile artist, she worked in oils, watercolor, gouache, charcoal, ceramics and sculpture. She eventually became a leading member of the German Expressionist Painters and had her first exhibition in Berlin in 1919. The following year, she returned to Cape Town, South Africa. Initially rejected by the conservative art community there, Stern’s raw and emotionally revealing style eventually helped to shift the perceptions of art at that time. She traveled extensively in Europe and South Africa, fascinated by different cultures, yielding a wide variety of sometimes exotic subject matter in her paintings, and had almost 100 solo exhibitions during her lifetime. Irma Stern has achieved both national and international acclaim and remains one of South Africa’s most important artists. Auction sales of her work have reached millions, with the most recent record set at Bonham’s in March, 2011 with the sale of “Arab Priest” for $4,944,064. “Seated Nude with Oranges” from the same sale brought $2,761,140. Very recently, Bonham’s sold Stern’s “Zanzibar Street Scene” for $67,691 on September 13. New records are expected in the coming months as several important works will be offered at auction.

     Several years ago, an astonishing discovery was made in a London flat by a Bonham’s art specialist there on a valuation assignment. “Arab in Black”, painted by Stern in 1939, was hanging with its exotic carved wood frame in the kitchen being used at a message board. Needless to say, the owners were shocked and immediately found another place for messages! The interesting thing about this piece is that it was part of a charity auction in the late 1950’s to help fund Nelson Mandela’s legal defense. This painting sold at Bonham’s in 2015 for $1,140,605.

     Alderfer Auction of Hatfield, PA will feature a still-life by Stern titled “Dasies” at their upcoming Fine and Decorative Arts Auction. With a pre-auction estimate of $20,000-$30,000, it promises to be a highlight of the sale’s fine art selection. The simulcast sale will take place live at the auction center on September 28 at 12 pm, as well as online (currently accepting bids). For more information, contact Alderfer Auction at (215) 393-3000, or visit www.alderferauction.com.

Article written by Karen Murray of National Appraisal Consultants, LLC. To speak with us about appraising your art or other property, call (800) 323-5996 or go to www.nacvalue.com.


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