Brushing Up on Stern
Works from the South African National Gallery Permanent Collection
Twenty-two oils, the proofs of Irma Stern’s first German publication, numerous gouaches and works on paper from the Permanent Collection of the Iziko South African National Gallery will set the context for this exhibition.
Almost half a century after Irma Stern’s death, Iziko is presenting a new showing of her works, marking the first occasion that the complete holdings of her work in the Permanent Collection, will be the subject of a dedicated exhibition.
Brushing Up on Stern explores the extraordinary rise in popularity of a South African woman painter - active during the first half of the 20th century - to dizzying heights of record breaking success, illustrated by superb work from the Iziko Permanent Collection, and supplemented by a magnificent selection of well-known artworks from the Irma Stern Museum and private collections.
What has prompted this phenomenal rise in the artist’s acclaim, particularly in the 21st century? The exhibition takes another look at her creative techniques and unpacks today’s generations’ antipathy or attraction to the work of the artist through the visual and archival record. These include Irma Stern’s original ledgers, correspondence and old press clippings surrounding the controversial acquisition of her work by the ISANG in the mid-1960s.
New research on the artist and her position and work in Africa will be presented and, in addition, the Islamic/Arabic influences of the work of Irma Stern will be examined. Props that Stern employed in her works, including African carvings, fabrics, fashion and ceramics, will also be on display. All of these objects will be sourced from the Iziko and Irma Stern Museum's collections.
Oil on canvas