Irma Stern's Composition achieves $980,500 in Cape Town

Irma Stern's Composition (1923) achieved $980,307 at a sale of South African Art & Furniture, Decorative Arts and Jewellery at Strauss & Co in Cape Town on October 21.

Irma Stern Composition
Composition (1923) displays the influence of German expressionism on Stern's painting

The painting is considered a seminal work by the South African artist, and demonstrates the influence of the German expressionists with whom she had exhibited in the early 1900s.

It was produced three years before The Hunt (1926), an iconic work that explores similar visual themes and subject matter.

Magnolias and Fruit (1947), another painting by Stern, achieved an identical result.

Magnolias Fruit Stern
The magnolias in the painting were taken from a tree in Stern's garden

Dating to a time when the artist is widely regarded to have been at the height of her creative powers, the still life features the rich colours and thickly applied paint that are the hallmarks of this period.

Jakob Henddrik Pierneef's Die Wynkelder realised $230,620.

It was painted in the late 1920s, a time of transition for Pierneef, who was moving away from his impressionist influences and beginning to create more solid, linear compositions.

In 1929 he was commissioned to produce a set of large murals for the newly built Johannesburg railway station, which proved popular and brought him critical and public acclaim.

Die Wynkelder can be seen as a study for this later style for which he became well known, both in South Africa and around the world.

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