Irma Stern's Pink Sari could be '$1.9m' star in rare South Africa art auction

Her rare painting Arab Priest once sold for £3m, just one of many instances which has consolidated Irma Stern's status as South Africa's leading, and perhaps most collectible, artist.

As we previously reported, Bonhams is auctioning another potential blockbuster from Stern's art cannon: her 1935 painting entitled Zulu Woman.

That painting is estimated to sell for £400,000 to £600,000 ($941,664). Zulu Woman was painted by Stern while at the height of her creative powers.

As was The Pink Sari, another rare artwork which will appear in Bonhams' sale.

The Pink Sari is signed and dated 1947. It was inspired by the artist's trips to Zanzibar. Stern made various 'life changing' visits to the island between 1939-1945.


Pink Sari - Irma Stern410.jpg
The Pink Sari, signed and dated 1947, by Irma Stern

According to Bonhams, Stern later described her Zanzibar trip as "a revelation" as she drew inspiration from its bustling life and colours.

Housed in its original Zanzibar frame, the work is expected to bring £800,000-1,200,000 ($1,896,710).

The piece is fresh to market and also boasts good provenance, having been acquired directly from the artist circa 1961. It was afterwards passed by direct descent to the present owner.

Given these credentials, it's no surprise that The Pink Sari is being billed as the biggest star in Bonhams' March 21 auction.

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