Irma Stern’s Madeiran painting makes record

Irma Stern's Madeiran painting makes record

Being under appreciated is never something easy, especially when you have so much to offer.

This was the case with Irma Stern, one of South Africa’s most acclaimed artists of her time. She held almost one hundred solo exhibitions in her lifetime. She also took care to organise her own exhibitions and frame her own art.

In the early 1920s she was heavily criticised in South Africa by critics with a review entitled, “Art of Miss Irma Stern – Ugliness as a cult”.

Even though her work was not valued in South Africa, she became popular in Europe.

After a failed marriage, she decided to visit the island of Madeira, where she suffered a nervous breakdown. She gained inspiration from the Portuguese island and painted a piece entitled, “Fisherman, Madeira”.

Recently, the painting was sold at Bonhams in London, where if fetched a staggering R6.1 million. This has made it the highest priced painting archived for South African art this year.