Irma Stern's Malay Bride to hit $2.3m?

Irma Stern's Malay Bride will highlight a sale of South African art at Bonhams in London on October 2.

The significant piece of work will arrive with an estimate of £1m-1.5m ($1.5m-2.3m).

The painting was produced by Stern in the 1940s, and indicates her disillusionment with the war in the West and a shift in style that was inspired by the exoticism and otherness of the East. The cultural vibrancy of Cape Town's Malay community provided her subject.

Malay Bride Stern
The Malay Bride grew out of Stern's fascination with Islam


''The Malay Bride is something of a mystery," states Giles Peppiatt, director of South African art at Bonhams.

"The face and clothes provide clues as to who she might be — a bride, beautiful and dignified, ceremoniously formal — but her character is cloaked in vivid colours, textures, and sketchy brushwork. Therein lies her charm."

Previous works by Stern have performed well at auction, including Arab Priest, which brought almost $5m in 2011 - doubling its $2.5m pre-sale estimate and achieving a new record price for the artist's work.

Another painting - Bahora Girl - similarly outperformed its high estimate of $1.4m by achieving $3.8m at Bonhams in 2010 - an increase in value of 171%.

The auction features a total of nine other works by Irma Stern, ranging in estimates from £5,000 ($7,800) to £500,000 ($780,000).

The sale also includes a number of works from prominent South African artists such as Jacob Hendrik Pierneef and Anton Van Wouw.  

For more news from the art world please sign up to our free weekly newsletter.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock