Malay Woman. Credit: Christies.

Irma Stern 1894 – 1966. Flowers And Faces Of Southern Africa

This lecture serves as an introduction to the art of South Africa whilst addressing important contemporary themes relating to the depiction of race, colonialism and the appropriation of African culture.

Irma Stern was one of the most important and influential artists to come out of South Africa in the twentieth century.  A near contemporary of Munnings, her art shows some stylistic similarities although her subjects were very different.  A similar concern with figurative painting was in Stern’s case directed at the production of luxurious flower paintings in the manner of Van Gogh whilst perhaps her most original achievement were the powerful portraits she painted of black Africans in exotic locations and costumes.

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