Irma Stern's Pink Sari brings $1.5m at Bonhams' South African art auction

The Pink Sari, a painting by the acclaimed Irma Stern, was the top lot at Bonhams' South Africa art auction yesterday (March 22), bringing £959,650, comfortably within its pre-sale estimate of £800,000-1,200,000.

The painting, which shows a lady in a pink sari, is one of the many pieces created as a result of Stern's "life-changing" visits to Zanzibar in 1939 and 1945. Stern described the trips to her friends as "a revelation" and found her greatest inspiration in the women of Zanzibar.


Irma Stern's Pink Sari realised £959,650

The piece sits within a Zanzibar woodwork frame chosen by Stern herself, who, due to a limited supply, reserved the frames for her most treasured works.

The auction saw the sale of a number of Stern's other paintings, including Zulu Girl which brought £457,250, and Still Life with Poinsettias which sold for £217,250.

The sale is further evidence of the current strength of Stern's work. Last October the renowned Watussi Woman, a 1942 Stern work, sold for £1.16m, and Portrait of a Boy Wearing a Hat brought £361,250 at auction.

But it wasn't just Stern's works which performed well in yesterday's sale. A View Over Chuniespoort by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886 - 1957) sold for £361,250 while his painting South West African Mountains realised £109,250.


Pierneef - Chuliesberg410.jpg
A View Over Chuniespoort


The market for South African art has never been stronger, with recent auctions propelling art from the region to the front lines of the global market.

Keep an eye on our art news for all the latest updates on South African art sales and the global art market.

Click here to view Paul Fraser Collectibles' collection of investment-grade artworks for sale.

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